It is with great anticipation that the students, teachers, parents, and residents of Northeast Michigan look forward to the 2012-13 year in our public schools. The excitement for the new year abounds, unfortunately the funding provided by our state legislature and our governor is dismal.
In 1994 Proposal A was passed by the voters as a new funding mechanism for our public schools. The advantages of the new system were that school districts would no longer have to be in the business of asking for millage increases from their residents, and property owners would know that their taxes could not increase more than the cost of living each year. This new system replaced property taxes as the main source of revenue. The money generated by this was to be put in the K-12 School Aid Fund and distributed on a per pupil basis to each of Michigan's public school districts. During the past two years, over $1 billion has been diverted from the K-12 School Aid Fund to balance the state's budget. Mr. Pettalia, 106th District House Representative, supported taking the money from the K-12 School Aid Fund. The intent of Proposal A was to use all of the money generated for K-12 education and since 2011 this has not been the case.
Some districts like Alcona, Alpena, Hillman, and Atlanta are considering asking for additional millages as early as February 2013 to make up for this withholding of school aid funds from their districts. This is wrong, it brings back memories of pre 1994, local districts should not have to go back to residents and solicit money to run their schools. Instead, the legislature and governor should use Proposal A money as intended by the citizens of Michigan.