State board to discuss school finance

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - As part of an effort to pull together recommendations on school finance reform, the state Board of Education will host a philosophically diverse group of panelists at its meeting Tuesday, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

At the same meeting, the board will review the state's application for federal Race to the Top grant money, according to The Press. Michigan could receive up to $400 million for education if its application is approved, but union leaders and school boards alike have criticized the state for providing too little information in advance of asking them to sign off on reform measures included in the document.

Among the guests discussing school finance will be Michael Van Beek, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which publishes Michigan Education Digest. Other panelists include Jeffrey Guilfoyle of the Citizens Research Council, Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard, and economist Timothy Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute, The Press reported.

The group is expected to discuss education budgets, state tax and revenue structures and reforms in the organization and delivery of education, according to The Press.

A statement released by the state board quoted President Kathleen Straus as saying, "... (T)here is great urgency to develop significant and responsible long-term structural remedies," The Press reported. The state Department of Education plans to conduct a series of forums and policy reviews before making recommendations to the governor and state Legislature, according to The Press.

The Grand Rapids Press, "State Board of Education says school finance problems require urgent solutions, calls for bipartisan help," Jan. 9, 2010

The Grand Rapids Press, "State Race to the Top plan calls for new evaluations for teachers, interventions for failing schools," Jan. 9, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Are schools underfunded?" Nov. 23, 2009