The “Promise” of Proposal A

We’ve received and reviewed information from the Michigan House Fiscal Agency as to the potential impact of the Governor’s K-12 budget proposal on our district. We are mainly concerned with the foundation allowance which is the primary bedrock funding for the core academic programs we must offer to each and every student, regardless at what level of achievement that student may be at when our doors re-open after Labor Day.

Based on the HFA document dated February 11 and available on the Michigan School Business Officials website, our foundation allowance is projected to increase by $111 (the maximum available) to $7,187 per pupil. The computation used to determine this amount is as follows:
  •  Every district, regardless of their current funding level, will receive $55 per pupil
  •  Each district is to receive an additional level of per-pupil funding ranging from $28 to $56. The precise amount will be based on the state’s “2x formula” which was designed to bring lower funded districts up and “close the funding gap” per the promise of 1994’s Proposal A.
I use “close the funding gap” loosely because at the rate our state is working on equity right now, all of us reading this will be deceased come that monumental day.  To illustrate in simple math what I mean, you can compare our district (not the lowest funded, but close) with another Michigan district in a wealthy community (I choose to leave the name out of this post), which by the way is one of the highest funded f not the highest funded normal-size school district in the state (excluding island schools and a few other anomalies).  That district is proposed to receive an additional $83 this fall, thereby bringing its foundation allowance up to $11,967.  
If the budget is passed as the Governor proposes, this will be $4,780 more per pupil in foundation allowance than our district. The difference between our increase and their increase is $28. If that rate of the so-called “closing the gap” continues, by the year 2185 both districts will be at an identical per-pupil foundation funding.  
Just a mere 171 years before equity is achieved. In genealogy terms, that’s only another 6.8 generations to go.



About David Britten

Retired U.S. Army Officer, former elementary, middle and high school principal, currently serving as a public school superintendent.
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