Utica School Board Member Errs, Blames Usual Suspect For Mythical Funding Cuts

District getting more, not less, from state; money from feds down, though

The Utica Community Schools teachers union and school board have resolved a bargaining impasse going back to last June by signing a new two-year contract that includes a pay freeze.

That outcome prompted one school board member to blame the state’s school funding system for the district’s financial plight.

“It is now time for the state of Michigan to address the second side of the equation – revenues,” Utica Community Schools Board of Education President Gene Klida said in a written statement, according to Michigan Radio. “Our state lawmakers must realize that the current school funding system is broken and needs to be replaced.”

ForTheRecord says: According to the state of Michigan and Utica Community Schools’ own audits, state funding levels do not appear to be the source of the district’s financial challenges.

Looking only at state support for the district – not the local or federal tax dollars that flow to it – Utica schools received $7,850 per pupil in 2016-17. The district received $6,687 per pupil in state-only dollars in 2010-11, which would be the equivalent of $7,257 in 2017 dollars. So even when adjusted for inflation the district is receiving $593 more per student from the state than it did six years earlier.

There has been a funding falloff though. It’s not from the state, however. The Utica district’s audited financial statement shows it got $8.5 million less from the federal government over the 2011-2017 period.

Klida didn't respond to an email seeking comment.