Educators on Senate K-12 Schools Budget: Try Harder


Educators are panning the budget plan introduced by Senate leadership today, calling it a plan stuck in the past at a time Michigan needs to take a bold step forward on its school funding approach. The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (TCA) is encouraging the legislature to completely rethink the approach they’re taking with this budget and to use Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal as a starting point for that process.

“The budget recommendations Governor Whitmer released last month were directly based on research showing how we can better fund our schools. The Senate’s budget appears to be based only on an interest in maintaining the status quo and keeping special interest line items intact,” said Dr. Russell Pickell, TCA’s Immediate Past President & Superintendent of Riverview Schools. “In years past, educators may have looked at this budget and said ‘it could be worse,’ but status quo is no longer going to cut it. The legislature needs to try harder than this because our students deserve better than this.”

In TCA’s endorsement of Governor Whitmer’s budget recommendations, the organization noted that it would welcome alternative proposals from the legislature and would offer its support as long as those proposals met the same principles as the Governor’s. Specifically, TCA said it’s support would depend on investing new revenues that don’t pull from other programs our communities rely on, removing higher education funding from the School Aid Fund and allocating school funding through a research-based, weighted formula.

The Senate’s plan meets none of those critically important criteria for TCA’s support.

“Research has consistently showed that Michigan’s school funding formula is broken and fails to meet the real needs of our students. I can’t imagine why the legislature would want to continue to pour money into that system when we know there’s a better way to do it,” said Mark Greathead, TCA Vice-President & Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools. “Overhauling our state’s school funding formula is a long overdue, difficult process, but I don’t think that any of these Senators were sent to the Capitol to take the easy way out.”