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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Something's Gotta Give

        That combination OMG and ouch you just heard was from all the educators around the state. On one hand they are relieved that the state aid per pupil next fall will not be cut thanks to all those Obama stimulus dollars.
         But a ton of other programs are on the verge of being chopped up into little pieces.
         Item:  Early childhood education.  For years researchers have lectured lawmakers that if you start to teach little tots before they sign up for kindergarten, the chances of long term education success go through the roof.
          But, the three republicans on the K-12 education budget this week decided to eliminate all state support.
          "Other programs have taken a 10% cut," reports Sen. Mickey Switalski (D-Macomb County) but they want to take 100% out of early childhood which is out of line."
           Republican Senator Ron Jelinek, who runs the senate budget committee, acknowledges that but explains the legislature's job is to fund K-12 grades so pre-school money is out, gone, caput.
         Switalski hopes to restore it before the budget is finalized.
         Item: Smaller high schools. Top educators argue high schools with 1500 students is a prescription for failure. Smaller schools around 400 or so are the ticket for success.  Jelinek and company nixed that, too.
         And on and on it goes.  Jelinek explains there is not enough money for all the great programs everyone wants, so tough choices have been=2 0made and no one will be happy including him.
         State budget director Bob Emerson warns this is only the beginning with more bad news down the road including more layoffs and more districts being "pushed more into the red."
         "This is an administrative nightmare," Emerson laments.
          Tell that to school officials who are going into their second consecutive year without a boost in state aid.
          As the old song goes, "Something's Gotta Give" and the fears in this town are: That "something" is the quality of your kid's education.


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