Governor Snyder released his proposed school aid budget this past week, continuing a twenty-year tradition of virtually ignoring the fact that schools as well as any organization (and your own family) face higher costs to operate each year.
As the chart below illustrates, the foundation allowance since 1996 has not come close to keeping up with the normal rising costs due to inflation. This doesn’t even include the impact due to increased administrative and academic requirements over that same period, including growing costs for educating students with special needs, limited English language proficiency, and the negative impacts of poverty and other demographic factors.
The above chart, as well as the one below, also doesn’t include the current Governor’s trend of providing a modest (below inflation) increase in one area while at the same time taking money from another. His latest budget proposal does just that by promising a $75 per pupil increase in the foundation while substantially reducing the “best practices” funding and eliminating the “performance funding.” Both of these decisions will cost our district $60 per pupil making the net gain (before inflation and normal rising costs) a paltry $15. At the same time, community colleges and four-year universities will be provided an even larger share of the school aid fund, originally intended only for K-12 schools, than they did previously.
The chart above, illustrates the effects of normal inflation on the school aid foundation grant cuts when compared since Proposal A put all school funding in the hands of the Governor and state legislature.
The Governor and legislative leaders like to point out that the state-created and managed teacher retirement fund requires ever more dollars to make it solvent, hence less dollars for the classroom, or so they say. Just another way to blame teachers. Last year, they did just that in the budget our district is currently operating under, but this week the legislature voted to rescind a substantial amount of that one-time payment in a supplemental K-12 bill to offset declines in projected revenue within the general fund state budget.
In general, the state moves school aid funding from K-12 to community colleges and four-year universities. Then they move general fund money from both to fill holes in the budget in other areas. That’s because it is unlawful to fund non-education state departments with revenues from the school aid fund, so this provides a loophole around that inconvenient truth.
But now you know the truth.