Website shows exactly how much Snyder’s school cuts still shortchange Oakland, Macomb kids

FARMINGTON/WARREN – A new online tool can help parents, educators, teachers, school staff and policymakers see exactly how much Gov. Rick Snyder’s school  cuts continue to shortchange Michigan children in every school district, teachers in Oakland and Macomb counties said today. Dating to Snyder’s first year as governor in 2011, the cuts affect everything from classroom sizes, courses and programs, and basic supplies.

According to the website, www.kidsnotceos.com, every Michigan child will still be short – in some cases, by hundreds of dollars – even after Snyder’s 2014-2015 budget proposal provides up to $111 per pupil. During his first year in office, Snyder cut school funding to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to big corporations – resources that children are not likely to recoup unless their classrooms are fully funded.

“Gov. Rick Snyder’s cuts have made it harder for teachers to teach and children to learn, especially kids who require more support and more attention,” said Chris DeYonke, a special education teacher at North Farmington High School. “By finding out exactly how much politicians have taken from our kids to give to big corporations, citizens are in a better position to hold our elected leaders accountable.”

DeYonke said Snyder’s school cuts have increased class sizes to the point where teachers and children struggle to develop deep connections that can improve learning. As a special education teacher, DeYonke said the cuts have also increased special education caseloads. Furthermore, the cuts have resulted in lack of critical supplies, including access to technology and high-interest books for struggling readers.

DeYonke and his wife, who also teaches in the Farmington Public School system, have four children who also attend school in the district. He said parents in the community are asked to buy supplies for their children’s classrooms. Farmington Public Schools’ four-year loss since Snyder took office totals minus-$19.4 million, and per-pupil funding is minus-$357.

Using data publicly available through the State Aid Status Report, House Fiscal Agency and Gov. Snyder’s Executive Recommendations released Feb. 11, www.kidsnotceos.com shows how much every school district in Michigan has lost since 2011, resulting in cuts to per-pupil funding. Despite Snyder’s claim that he is increasing resources, per-pupil funding will still be below what it was when Snyder took office.

“Macomb County students and teachers are doing more with less, and www.kidsnotceos.com shows all of us exactly how much less we have since Gov. Rick Snyder came into office,” said Jean Wenner, a K-5 media specialist at Green Acres Elementary in Warren Consolidated Schools. “Gov. Snyder’s cuts are causing serious concerns because parents worry about whether their kids’ educational needs are being met and teachers worry how they’ll provide children with the best education at a time of shrinking resources.”

Wenner said Snyder’s cuts have forced schools to reduce literature and non-fiction resources available in school libraries necessary for Common Core instruction. Snyder’s cuts have also significantly reduced the opportunity for children to have critical experiences, such as field trips and assemblies. In addition, Wenner said teachers are often forced to use their own personal money to pay for basic items for kids in their classrooms.

Warren Consolidated Schools’ total four-year loss since Snyder took office totals minus-$26.7 million, and per-pupil funding is minus-$357.

To find a school district, go to www.kidsnotceos.com, click on the dropdown bar and select the district. The results can also be printed as a standalone handout page.

CONTACT: Doug Pratt, Director of Member and Political Engagement, (517) 337-5576