DETROIT - Michigan voters could see an education funding question on the ballot this year if the state Legislature doesn't take action on the issue, the head of the "Save our Students, Schools and State" organization told the Detroit Free Press.

"I am offended at the notion that we have to go to the ballot," Tom White, SOS chairman and former head of the Michigan School Business Officials, told the Free Press. "But if we have to go, we will."

Just what the organization would seek in a ballot initiative was not detailed, but White told the Free Press that one thing SOS promotes is a reduction in school employee health insurance costs.

SOS members include representatives from the Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Parent Teacher Student Association and other education groups. It does not include the Michigan Education Association or American Federation of Teachers-Michigan.

"It's not an anti-union thing," White told the Free Press. "We're not going to be able to solve this ... with just getting new money."

Michigan schools have received funding boosts in most of the last 15 years, according to the Free Press, but recent increases have not matched the rise in health care benefit costs. In 2009-2010, per-pupil funding was reduced by $165 and reductions are anticipated in 2010-2011 as well.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Group pushing for changes in school funding could take its case to voters," Feb. 7, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Cuts to the Classroom: How Will Funding Reductions Affect Michigan Students?" Nov. 9, 2009

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