WATERFORD, Mich. - School employees and Michigan Education Association leaders want Oakland Schools to turn over more of its fund equity to local districts, according to a report in The Oakland Press.

Union representatives said at the intermediate district's budget hearing this week that Oakland Schools should send more money to local schools for direct instruction, rather than save it for emergencies or improvement projects, The Press reported.

But Oakland trustees said they already cut the intermediate district's general operating fund reserve from 10 percent to 5 percent of the budget, leaving it at about $5 million, on behalf of local districts, according to the report. They also said that intermediate-level programs and services help local districts save money and improve student achievement.

Robert Moore, deputy superintendent of finance, said Oakland Schools will receive about $240 million less in property taxes during the next five years, according to the Press.

MEA secretary treasurer Peggy McClellan told the board, "We are here for one simple reason, to urge you to use the resources you have so our students don't suffer cuts to programs and services they so desperately need," The Press reported.

The intermediate district budget already has been approved by 26 of the 28 constituent school districts, the report said.

The Oakland Press, "Struggling school districts ask for cut of rainy day funds," June 16, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Intermediate School Districts: Innovations that are Past Their Prime," July 9, 2007