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Snyder's proposed education cuts are 'problematic' for school districts

Governor Snyder wants to cut K-12 school funding by $470 per student
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
Governor Snyder wants to cut K-12 school funding by $470 per student

Governor Rick Snyder wants to cut state funding for K-12 schools by about four percent, or roughly $470 per student.

School districts across the state are now combing through their budgets to see where those cuts could be made.

Tom Goulding is deputy superintendent for West Bloomfield public schools. He says the proposed cuts, which amount to $3.2 million for Goulding's district, don't come as a complete surprise, but they're still "problematic" just the same:

"For example, that type of a cut, if you looked at certain departments or services, could wipe out our K-12 transportation system; not that it would, but the dollars are equivalent to that. Or, based on our total payroll to make up the $3.2 million, it would mean approximately an 8.5% pay cut for each employee working for our school district."

Goulding says neither of those options would go over well in his district.

Betsy Erikson is with Bloomfield Hills public schools. Governor Snyder's proposal would cut $5.5 million from the Bloomfield Hills district, which Erikson calls a "dramatic hit."

Erickson says the district recently closed two elementary schools, cut department budgets, and renegotiated labor contracts in an effort to save $10 million. Now she says Snyder's proposal will require the district "to do much more and work very hard to not diminish instructional excellence."

The Jackson Public Schools districtwould lose $2.8 million under the Governor's proposal.

A’Lynne Robinson is with the district and she says the size of that cut "certainly begins to reach across the district and we don’t know as of yet as our leadership team hasn’t had the opportunity to begin to grapple with as a team where these cuts would come from."

All three school officials are quick to point out that budget talks are in the very early stages and that Governor Snyder's proposal is just that - a proposal.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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