News and Analysis

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Senate GOP leader wants to avoid mid-year cuts

23 February — Press reports indicate that while Senate Republicans are keeping their alternate budget proposals “close to the vest,” a few details are seeping out. MIRS News, a state politics news service, reports that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) indicated that the GOP plan would not take back the per-pupil increase for schools originally budgeted for this year, avoiding mid-year cuts.

Dems submit bill for FY08 school aid appropriations

22 February — An appropriations bill on school aid for FY2008 was introduced yesterday by Sens. Michael Switalski (D-Roseville) and minority leader Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek). The bill increases spending from the School Aid Fund by 2.9% to $11.986 billion, raising per-pupil foundation allowances by $178 from what was originally budgeted for the current year. (This brings the “basic” foundation allowance to $7,286 from $7,085, since the $23 “equity payment” for low-spending districts was factored in as well.)

Proposed Constitutional amendment would equalize education funding

Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Bellaire) proposed an amendment to the Michigan Constitution this week which would require per-pupil funding for K-12 schools be made equal statewide within 11 years. Even though the school funding system created by Proposal A in 1994 was aimed in part at closing the spending gap between wealthier and poorer districts, the gap was not closed completely and school systems which were spending more than the maximum allowance amount determined in 1994 (including Ann Arbor) have been allowed to levy local taxes to cover the difference.

Senate GOP kills executive order

15 February — According to press reports, the Republican majority on the Senate Appropriations committee has rejected Gov. Granholm’s executive order proposing limited budget cuts. Republican Senators objected to the fact that the Governor’s plan depended on new taxes to make up much of the shortfall in revenue. The defeat of the executive order also leaves school funding in limbo.

Governor's February 2007 budget proposal

Governor Jennifer Granholm’s budget proposal for the 2008 fiscal year includes a number of provisions that affect school aid, including changes which would help plug the funding shortfall for the current year (fiscal 07). Below are some extracts from the release on the budget proposal with some commentary; a full analysis of the budget, and legislative action, will follow soon.