Darany, Nathan: Governor's 'Shared Sacrifice' Balances the Budget on the Backs of Our Kids

Lawmakers rally against raid of education funding, extra cuts to Dearborn schools
Monday, March 21, 2011

DEARBORN - With the Governor’s proposed budget slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from Michigan schools - including an extra $5.3 million from Dearborn schools - State Representatives George T. Darany (D-Dearborn) and David Nathan (D-Detroit) today rallied in opposition to the deep cuts and called for the “shared sacrifice” the new administration promised.

“As a proud graduate of Dearborn Public Schools and a longtime supporter of education, I strongly oppose the Governor’s drastic cuts,” said Darany, who serves on the House Education Committee. “It’s especially unfair that Dearborn faces $5.3 million in extra cuts. This is money that our schools make excellent use of in their mission to help every child in our diverse community reach their full potential.

“We have to invest in our children’s education so they can compete for good-paying jobs and become the talented workforce needed to attract businesses to Michigan. I won’t stand by and watch while the state harms the schools of my hometown.”

The Governor’s budget effectively cuts school funding by $715 per student, which will result in increased class sizes and outdated textbooks and technology in classrooms. The Governor’s budget raids the School Aid Fund by taking nearly $900 million from K-12 education and shifting it to pay for the Community Colleges and Higher Education budgets. This marks the first time since Proposal A passed that the School Aid Fund would be raided to fund universities.

Under the Governor’s plan, Dearborn is one of only two school districts in the state that would lose special funding - about $5.3 million - dedicated to helping schools make sure that economically disadvantaged and bilingual students succeed, on top of millions in per-pupil funding. The district has a record of being fiscally responsible with this money and producing the kind of results that the Governor has said he wants as part of his “return on investment” philosophy.

Darany, Nathan and their colleagues have launched a website - www.fightschoolcuts.com - that includes an interactive map where visitors can see how much funding their schools will lose under the Governor’s proposed budget. They are also encouraged to sign a petition in opposition of these cuts.

“Every child deserves a high-quality education, and our schools deserve the resources they need to provide that,” Nathan said. “The Governor’s budget will put our kids at a severe disadvantage by taking away those resources and leaving our kids with outdated books, less access to computers, and fewer teachers to give them the individual attention they need. Michigan won’t be able to attract top-notch employers unless we have a top-notch workforce, and the Governor is making it impossible for that to happen.

“Everyone who cares about children and the future of our state needs to stand united in saying that we will not accept these cuts to our schools.”