Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 21, 2013

Forum: Actions speak louder than words

Actions speak louder than words, and we show what we value by how we invest our resources. The actions of our Legislature and governor demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice the education of our youngest citizens and dramatically weaken the viability of K-12 public education.

The education budgets proposed by the governor, the State Senate and House all continue to slash K-12 school funding. Those budget proposals cut funding to Traverse City Area Public Schools by $30, $41 and $51 per student, respectively.

The cuts are particularly daunting in light of the dramatic cuts schools have implemented over the past five years. TCAPS has responsibly reduced costs during the decade-long economic recession.

TCAPS cut more than $11.4 million since 2008, or $1,104 per student, during a period of stable enrollment. The district reduced salary and benefit costs 17 percent in the last three years alone. Despite these cuts, the district still faces a $1.5 million shortfall this year, which will be compounded by increases in state-imposed retirement costs.

TCAPS’ reserve fund balance will be eliminated by 2016 absent an increase in state funding. We would be in a position of having to file a deficit elimination plan with the state two years from now. Such a filing is the first step to the imposition of a state-mandated Emergency Manager, who would take over operations and decision-making.

The continual funding reductions are starving public education out of meaningful existence. TCAPS and other inequitably low-funded districts suffer the most. TCAPS has acted in a fiscally responsible manner but time is running out.

The real threat of Emergency Manager takeover of high-quality, reputable districts such as TCAPS should sound an alarm throughout our state.

The state School Aid fund is sufficiently robust to pay for an increase in funding for K-12 education, contrary to the claims of our own locally-elected state legislators.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US