Expects cuts in 2010, lawmakers tell parents

LIVONIA, Mich. - Schools can expect at least a $268-per-pupil cut in state funding next year and likely will be asked to contribute more to employee pensions, legislators told Livonia parents this week, according to the Livonia Observer.

Four lawmakers, among them House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, mentioned several potential changes in school funding, including allowing schools to ask local voters for small tax increases, the Observer reported. However, lawmakers are divided on whether to overhaul Proposal A — the 1994 measure that shifted school funding from property taxes to sales taxes, the report said.

Dillon said that shifting or expanding the sales tax to include services is one consideration, since sales tax provides the biggest share of school funding, the Observer reported. Only 5.6 percent of the school aid fund comes from the state lottery, Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, told those attending.

LeBlanc said that some legislators want to cut spending rather than consider tax increases, and Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, said the state could renegotiate its $15 billion in contracts in a bid to secure lower prices, just as automakers did with their suppliers, the Observer reported. One parent told the Observer that he wanted to hear more ideas on cutting state spending.

Dillon said that the Legislature probably won't "step up to do tough things" during an election year, the Observer reported.

Livonia Observer, "Lawmakers: Expect more cuts to school funding," Jan. 28, 2010

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