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It's September 10th: do you know where your school's funding is?

Reposted from Michigan Parents for Schools (mipfs.org).
Our lawmakers are once again at a crossroads, figuring out how to manage the tremendous decline in revenues for public services, including schools. Time is running out.

Constant readers will notice the shortage of news on the state K-12 education budget in recent months. There is a good reason: there hasn’t been any.

AAPS Budget discussions

Top district officials held open public meetings last week to talk about school funding and the AAPS budget.

Update: A copy of the district’s presentation, and a place to submit questions online, can be found on the AAPS web site.

Attendance was modest in the extreme, and details of any potential cuts were few, but it was a good opportunity to explain to citizens what has been happening with school funding and where the district finds itself today. Even before the Governor’s proposed budget cuts (see story on MIPFS site soon), the AAPS was projecting a deficit of nearly $6 million on a budget of $185 million that would continue the current level of services. While the Governor’s proposed $59 per pupil cut (nearly $1 million in Ann Arbor’s case) is probably moot because of the Federal stimulus funding, the district may still face another $60 per pupil cut in state funding in a separate provision that only applies to higher-spending districts.

Board of Education begins budget process

Disagreements reflect broader splits over school finance

At a special study session tonight, AAPS Superintendent Todd Roberts and Deputy Superintendent Robert Allen gave a preliminary briefing on the school system’s 2009-10 budget. Good news was in short supply, though progress has been made on several fronts and Federal stimulus money may yet come through to help schools. But, absent Federal action, the district’s leadership is projecting a budget deficit of just under $6 million for next year. Without any other changes, the projected trend continues with a $8.74 million deficit in 2010-11 and an even $12 million deficit in 2011-12. They need to close the gap and will be looking for community involvement in making the hard choices.

What's on the ballot? Part I - The Operating Millage

Ballot proposals always seem to be written so that only a lawyer could understand them. Anyway, who has time to read them while people tap their feet waiting for your voting booth? Fear not, dear reader – we’re here to help.

Time for everyone to step up

School property tax millage renewals are the first step toward securing adequate funding for our public schools, and Ann Arbor Parents for Schools supports these measures.

And so it begins. Facing continued pressure on the Ann Arbor Public Schools’ budget, the AAPS Board of Education voted to get an early start on renewing local tax levies that provide half of our public school system’s operating budget. In their 20 February meeting, board trustees voted to place these renewals on the ballot for the 6 May school elections.

Teacher Pay in the news

Regardless of what you think of it, the recent series in the Ann Arbor News on salary levels for teachers and other school employees has broken open a topic that has to be addressed as we work to build community support for our schools. There are a lot of misunderstandings, myths and suspicions that surround the topic of how much our teachers are paid, and these things really need to see the light of day.

Budget deal saves schools - for now

Late Friday, Michigan’s top lawmakers hammered out a deal which both prevents last-minute cuts to schools and closes the current year’s deficit without a tax increase, but at a cost. Most of the cuts from the regular state budget went to fund increases for health care and prison beds, both of which are projected to increase because of the poor economy. To fill the overall gap, the Legislature intends to sell rights to some future tobacco settlement fund revenues (“securitize” these revenues), among other things. Closing the current year’s deficit without a tax increase is evidently part of an agreement with Senate Republicans not to block a vote on an income tax increase for fiscal 2008.

Read the rest of this story on the “Michigan Parents for Schools website”:http://www.miparentsforschools.org/node/82.

News Analysis: Looking for Cover

The recent fuss in the Legislature with budget agreements that weren’t and battling press releases has made it fairly clear that the Republican majority in the Senate is looking for cover on increasing taxes, but Democratic lawmakers are reluctant to give it to them.

See the rest of this story on the Michigan Parents for Schools web site:
http://www.miparentsforschools.org/node/76

District finance presentation

Thanks to parent Ed Vielmetti, we have a copy of the slide show that Robert Allen (Deputy Superintendent of Operations, AAPS) gave at the community meeting at Burns Park two weeks ago. Click here to see a web version of the slide show, albeit without Mr. Allen’s commentary. Let’s talk about this!

Clock starts ticking on School Aid cuts

Gov. Granholm made it official – aid to school districts will be cut by June 1st unless the Legislature acts. Speaking to the news media, the governor reiterated her frustration with the Legislature’s inaction. “Nobody is more frustrated than I am,” she said. “The Legislature has not filled that hole. The clock starts ticking today.” If other funds are not found, the cuts would amount to approximately $122 per pupil taken out of school districts’ final aid payments, and a further $8 million in cuts to intermediate school districts.