Sep 13, 2004
As part of their new budget agreement, Michigan's legislators and governor agreed to withhold a $75.00 per student increase in funding for the 22 wealthiest school districts in the state – those that spend more than $9,000 per student. This would save the state 6.6 million dollars.
Ten years ago, Michigan voters passed Proposal A, which shifted the funding of schools from local property taxes to state sales taxes. Supposedly it would equalize funding across all school districts.
In fact, the legislators built into the law a continued disparity in funding between the different school districts, guaranteeing the wealthy districts got more money. And ever since then, they continue to roll over that disparity from one year to the next.
When the state proposed this year not to give the extra money to the wealthy districts, there was a big hue and cry from politicians in those communities – especially Oakland County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, with six of those school districts.
Sure enough, the legislature decided to revisit the question. Now they say they'll find that 6.6 million dollars for those school districts from the state's general fund – budget crisis or no crisis. The money will come from the sale of state properties like Executive Plaza, its former main office building in Detroit.
Just goes to show that the government does listen to the citizens – so long as the citizens are rich!