Today we have Amy back with us to discuss education funding. As you know, the Republicans have been patting themselves on the back for “increasing” education funding. It’s not actually an increase though, as Amy explains.
Hey, there’s a reason “conservative” starts with “con.”
MICHIGAN EDUCATION FUNDING CRISIS
While per pupil funding increased from 1995 to 2011, under Snyder it decreased in real dollars. His corporate tax cuts were offset partially through a shell-game with the education budget.
Snyder was prohibited from directly tapping into the K-12 budget, but he was able to move the money to higher education, and then make offsetting cuts there.
In 2008, 27 school districts were operating with budget deficits. That number has since doubled to 55 – that’s 10 percent of Michigan’s schools.
Munetrix found that 62 districts are currently in fiscal distress, with another 109 approaching crisis – combined, that’s 30 percent of Michigan’s schools.
Per pupil funding cuts, combined with a nearly 11 percent decline in enrollment (due to population flight and charters), and increasing legacy costs have created a statewide fiscal meltdown.
The Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) costs each district, as a portion of revenues, 14.8 percent, a rise from 8.7 percent in 2004.
Adjusting for inflation that translates into a 13.1 percent decline in remaining funds available for education in traditional K-12 schools.
Michigan has wide funding inequities, with some districts receiving $7,000 per pupil, and others up to $12,000.
The lowest funded districts have the same legacy costs as the top tier, and they typically have greater transportation costs, because many of them are outstate rural districts with a larger geographic footprint.
The push to merge and dissolve schools does nothing to address the remaining deficits, not to mention remedy future shortfalls. Research shows that consolidation does not save money, and in many cases is very costly on the front end.
The Education Achievement Authority has been vacuuming-up funds from multiple sources, including secretive bridge loans from struggling DPS, and they too are treading water, even with all their supposed money-saving schemes: rent-a-teachers from Teach for America, and cyber teachers.
NATIONAL PICTURE ON EDUCATION FUNDING
State taxes account for 90 percent of education funding as an average.
A group called PAY UP NOW found that the severe cut backs in education funding is about equal to the amount not being paid in state taxes by the top 155 corporations in the nation.
Average tax rates paid among those corporations is 1.8 percent to states, and 3.6 percent in federal taxes.
The Census Bureau reports that K-12 funding rose by about 5 percent per year from 1998 to 2008, then leveled-off or declined.
A report from a group called GOOD JOBS FIRST found that it was typical for corporations to play states against each other to maximize their tax breaks.
Source for national figures: