Snyder's education budget--an increase or a cut?

Gov. Snyder promoted his 2013 budget proposal for K-12 funding as a boost to education, but information from the House Fiscal Agency shows something different. The "boost" is only a mere .2 percent from 2012 funding levels. And for 2014, schools will see a .7 percent decrease.

Democrats point out that the real story is in the minimum foundation allowance numbers. In 2011, it was $7,316 per pupil. Yet, for 2012-14, the Gov. is proposing the minimum remain at $6,846--an amount below the 2006 level of $6,875.

Under the Gov.'s proposal, there are strings attached to any money a school district will receive. If districts meet a list of best practices, they can "earn" as much as $100 more per pupil.  But that still doesn’t make up for the $1 billion cut schools are still suffering from so corporations could get tax breaks.

In response to the Gov.'s budget proposal, MEA President Steven Cook said, "Adding more hurdles for schools to jump through to get more funding -- from basing funding on standardized tests to pushing more unproven ideas as 'best practices' -- doesn't help either. Schools and students already suffering from last year's budget cuts don't need more hoops; they need more help.  They need adequate funding to meet the end goal that we all want -- a well-educated and successful workforce that is attractive to employers investing in Michigan."

Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) is calling for a minimum 3.3 percent education funding increase so the funding level stays even with last year.

The state Board of Education yesterday approved a resolution that calls Snyder's proposed education budget a first step in improving education, but falls short in providing necessary resources at all levels so schools can function.  As a result, the Board is calling for a new study on education costs and a statewide committee to review Proposal A.