2011 funding gap $1.8 billion

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan schools could see a $215 per-pupil reduction in state funding in 2011 if Senate Fiscal Agency projections hold true and if legislators choose that route to close an anticipated budget gap, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

MIRS reported that SFA Director Gary Olson said that the School Aid Fund and General Fund are balanced for 2010, but that the state faces a $1.8 billion budget hole in those funds combined in 2011. The report did not indicate whether that means schools will avoid a pro-ration in 2010, as was proposed and then delayed earlier this year by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Looking ahead to 2011, the School Aid Fund is expected to be short by about $340 million, MIRS reported, which would require a 3 percent cut in per-pupil funding to close. That is smaller than the $500 to $600 per-student cut that earlier reports have suggested.

One unknown in that equation is whether the federal government will mount a second stimulus program, MIRS reported. The first stimulus propped up the state budget by about $1.1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars.

"It's the same debate we had a year ago about whether the federal government is going to ride in and help us out. If there's more federal aid, that's going to help us," Olson told MIRS. "But it's not going to be $1.8 billion."

Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., "SFA: MI Facing $1.8B Hole in '11," Dec. 22, 2009 (Subscription required)

WJRT-TV, "Michigan legislature passes major cut to school aid," Oct. 9, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Race to the Top Realities," Dec. 22, 2009