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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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Will Get Their Attention

   School administrators across the state are in a deep holiday funk.  Instead of decorating the school, they are dismantling it instead.
   With a hefty $292 per pupil cut starring them in the face, they are forced to do one of two things:  Dip into their rainy day fund to restore the cuts, or start slashing here and there to balance the books.
   It's the "here and there" that is getting all the attention and here's a sure fire way to balance the books: Eliminate school buses and athletics.
   That giant clunk you just heard was from administrators falling off their chairs.
   Eliminating transportation and high school sports would get the parents to lobby Lansing for more money, but it's a risky strategy due to school's of choice.
    S of C was invented years ago on the Gov. John Engler watch and gave parents the power to move their kids all over the state.  If they were stuck in district B that was lousy, they were free to move their kids to district C if there was room.
    Thus was born "competition in the school market place" which is impacting the decisions that superintendent's are making right now regarding budget cuts.
    As one insider lamented the other day, "If I cut sports, all my parents will move their kids to some school that doesn't."
    It's a valid point.  That would only plummet the district deeper debt as about $7,000 walks out the door for every kid that skedaddles somewhere else.
    At a recent education conference, the keynote speaker suggested if the assembled administrators had any guts, they would cut out sports and the hoots and hollers were deafening.
    "Friday night football is a social event in our town."
     "Sports is the reason some kids stay in school."
     "I'd like to keep my job…and life."
      The laments were serious, but if we are serious about reducing the cost of education, which is more important: preserving what goes on in the classroom or the gridiron?
      Yeah, in Michigan we unfortunately know the answer to that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granholm is to THANK for this whole MESS.....

December 2, 2009 at 5:07 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, Mrs. Granholm is to blame for the fact that GM, Chrysler, and Ford lost almost half of their market share since 1969.

Sadly, folks on the east and west coast have been buying Asian and European cars/trucks for decades.

We have two Fords in my driveway. How about you?

December 2, 2009 at 7:48 AM 
Blogger Joe said...

I find it interesting and sad when athletics and other extracurriculars are treated as if they are not part of education process. Growing up playing team sports both in school and independent organizations, I learned the importance of discipline, teamwork, and the reward of achieving a goal. To me, these experiences were as valuable as anything I learned in math and English class.

I have 3 kids under 8 years old at home and they will go to a school that offers a full curriculum including athletics and other activities. If those choices aren't available in Michigan, I will move my family accordingly.

If others feel the same way, that will not help Michigan's erroding tax base.

December 2, 2009 at 9:51 AM 
Anonymous Dean said...

Joe's comment is easy to say, but what happens when schools are cut, as Tim's blog mentions. I was on a school board, and until just recently, for 12 years.

That's the rub -- once you've cut everyplace you can think of, then have to cut some more, where do you go? It isn't a matter of what is and is not important. It is a matter of making incredibly difficult choices.

Given the range of tough choices, athletics is an area that parents should fund, just like they do in junior hockey and soccer and little league baseball. And if Michigan continues down this route of balancing the budget on the backs of the schools, it looks like Joe better put the house up for sale.

December 2, 2009 at 2:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sports should be funded on a pay-to-play basis. Football is not the primary function of a school system. Take a look at the football facilities at you typical suburban high school. How are these multi-million dollar shrines furthering education?

December 3, 2009 at 8:27 AM 
Anonymous Bill said...

Districts need to band together and make all these cuts TOGETHER. That will wake up Lansing.

The problem now is that districts in-fight individually, killing off each other like a family of deer fighting over a winter bait pile. The State sticks it to districts and they are left to make the tough choices.

Well: let's ALL--every district--cut the piss out of everything. Then turn ALL parents and students loose on Bishop's office.

Problem solved.

It's time to take back control of Lansing.

December 5, 2009 at 9:22 PM 

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