School leaders float ideas on saving money

LANSING, Mich. - Regional labor contracts, a statewide teacher pay scale and consolidated administration are among the proposals that a group of Michigan school leaders want the state to consider, according to an article in the Lansing State Journal.

Fourteen school superintendents and finance chiefs from districts of varying sizes put together the proposals and now are circulating them as potential ways to address school funding problems, the Journal reported.

"The idea was to sit down and say, 'What are the problems that we have? What are some solutions?'" J. Thomas Goodwin, chief financial officer for Grand Ledge Public Schools, told the Journal.

Michigan's per-pupil funding system, combined with a dwindling state population, is putting pressure on school budgets, the article said.

Among their ideas are statewide or regional labor contracts; statewide payroll systems; a statewide health insurance pool and competitive bidding for insurance, and changes in the process of allocating certain state funds to align with district's varying costs, the Journal reported.

The Lansing State Journal, "Educators searching for answers to money woes," June 22, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally Responsible School Districts," Dec. 3, 2002