The Clarkston Community Schools superintendent recently sent a letter wondering whether Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed $300 per pupil cuts were “the end of public education as we know it.” In his letter, Superintendent Rod Rock said the governor, other politicians and the Michigan Department of Education are “not knowledge authorities on education.”

Rock also wrote: “Improving schools is not a function of government. Governments do not improve schools. … The government needs to get out of the education business.”

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said it’s ironic for a government bureaucrat such as Rock to be making such claims.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

“He’s hired by government officials to run a government entity,” Van Beek said. “Government has to get out of the education business? Yeah, except school districts rely on government forcing people to attend them and forcing everyone to pay for them.”

After Rock said he wanted government out of the education business, he next noted that schools needed options to raise revenues.

“I suspect what he means is that he wants to be able to raise local revenue, which again is only available through the power of taxation and the power of government,” Van Beek said.

Van Beek said that Snyder’s plan is only a 4 percent reduction in state per-pupil funding.

What Rock didn’t put in his letter was that Clarkston’s general fund expenditures have grown 23 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. Many teachers received raises between 6.3 and 7.7 percent this year and didn’t pay anything toward their health insurance premiums. The average teacher’s salary has grown 18 percent in the last 10 years, after adjusting for inflation.

“According to the fiscal track record of this district, ending public education as they know it means not being able to expand their budget every year and offer gold-plated benefits for employees,” Van Beek said.

Rock didn’t respond to an email or phone message seeking comment.

Clarkston Community Schools negotiated new employee contracts for next school year that will reportedly save $3 million a year, according to The Oakland Press.

Clarkston’s general fund expenditures were $53.9 million in 2000 ($68.2 million in 2010 dollars) and increased to $83.7 million in 2010. Student enrollment has increased from 7,344 students in 2000 to 8,251 in 2010.

The average teacher’s salary in Clarkston was $45,148 in 2000 ($57,171 in 2010 dollars) and increased to $67,995 in 2010.


See also:

L’Anse Creuse: Cuts Claimed While Spending Is Up; Teachers Pay Zero for Health Benefits

Coleman Schools: 23 Percent Fewer Kids, 23 Percent More Spending Per Kid

How $10 Million Spending Increases Become K-12 Budget Cuts

Carman-Ainsworth Schools: Multi-Million-Dollar Deficits and 6.7 Percent Raises

Rochester Schools Reduce 6.5 to 7.5 Percent Raises by Half-Point - Declares Budget Cut

What Does the Average Teacher in Ann Arbor Really Make?

Coldwater Bans Tea Party Signs in Public Park

Bay City Public Schools Claims $24 Million Cut, Budget Continues to Grow

Unusual: For 30 Years Teachers Share Almost Half of Health Care Cost in Grand Ledge

Will the Snyder K-12 Plan Really Cause 40-Student Classrooms in Novi?

Spending Mysteries at Utica Schools

Rochester Schools Raise Pay, Report Cuts, and Blame Governor

Does the Lansing School District Reall Pay ‘Below the Poverty Line’ for Teachers?

Transparency Not Rapid For Kent Co. Transit Agency

West Michigan School Super Claims Budget Cuts - But Do the Numbers Add Up?

Decade of Cuts Is Claimed by School District Giving 14 Percent Raises Over 24 Months




Related Articles:

Acton Lecture Series: 'Excuse Me Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism'

Why Can’t Tesla Sell Cars in Michigan?

$1 Cigarette Tax Hike Helps Smugglers, Not Health Outcomes Highlights Power of School Choice in Michigan

Detroit Students Missed 1.5 Million Days of School Last Year

Detroit Public Schools Bankruptcy Could Cost the State $3.4 Billion

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

Related Sites