ESCANABA - The coup de grace will be administered to school districts in the Upper Peninsula if the governor's current budget proposal is enacted.
School districts in Lower Michigan may be able to recover, however, school districts in the Upper Peninsula - they will never recover sufficiently the ability to administer a quality education or be a motivating factor in their respective communities.
Under a budget proposal submitted by Snyder, K-12 schools will experience a $470 per pupil cut in state aid, on top of other cuts school districts across the state have already experienced in the past.
How many more cuts can school districts in the Upper Peninsula be expected to absorb and still offer a quality education to our children?
Budgets have already been "slashed to the bone" and now our newly elected governor and state legislators want to begin paring away at those bones.
Perhaps it is time for someone to take Governor Snyder, Rep. Ed McBroom, and Sen. Tom Casperson aside and explain to them that it is not the fault of the children or their parents or Michigan citizens that the state is in the current financial straits it is in.
Lack of accountability by legislators, kicking the proverbial "financial" tin can down the road year after year rather than addressing tough budget issues before it became exceedingly difficult, has led to the current "state" this state is in.
Providing tax cuts to businesses as "enticements" for them to locate here has also led nowhere - other than businesses moving from the state when the grace period for tax cuts ended, taking with them thousands of jobs.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul year after year. "Borrowing" money from the school aid fund which has operated at a surplus year after year since its inception in 1994, and not repaying the loans must end.
The most recent "loan" taken from the school aid fund by the legislator under then Gov. Jennifer Granholm of $208 million has yet to be repaid, and there is no indication even now that it will be repaid.
Even now, the state Senate, which has passed its own version of the budget, is calling for cuts in per pupil funding, while requiring school districts to meet not only state but federal mandates - with little or no funding being provided.
Yes, everyone should bear a portion of the burden to pull Michigan out of its financial woes, but that burden should not be placed on the shoulders of our most vulnerable citizens - our children.
They did not contribute to the financial mess that Michigan is in. That blame lies solely on the legislators both past and present. It's time for the state government to begin exercising fiscal responsibility and to begin funding our schools at a level which will allow our children to not only receive a quality education - but to excel as well.
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Dionna Harris is a staff writer for The Daily Press