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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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kalkaska: Here We Go Again?

    With the domestic auto industry in turmoil, the State of Michigan has received more than its fair share or negative national headlines recently.
    But back in the early 1990's when the autos were humming along, it was a tiny and out of the way school district up North that captured the nation's attention and none of it was good.
    "Kalkaska Shuts School Doors—Runs Out of Money."
    The closing of a school system was big news and turns out the flap over Kalkaska broke the twenty-year-old logjam in the legislature and led to a "reform" of the way we pay for schools.
     Fast forward to the here and now…more Kalkaska's may be unfolding.
     "We are having that conversation," reports Ray Tellman, the lobbyist for thirty-three of the state's poorest inner city and rural districts with 20% of all the students in the state.
      Faced with the double whammy of losing students and losing state government funding, some of these schools may spend all their money until it runs out and then board up the classrooms.
      Tellman observes with all the past and future loss of state aid, some boards are fed-up with all the cutting will "look at this other option that they will go with what we've got and see what happens down the road and if they can't go any further, than they stop rather than decimate their programs."
      No one is there just yet, but don't be shocked when and if you read the headline:  Kalkaska Re-do: Schools Close For Good.


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