The Detroit Free Press reports that a group called Save Our Schools Michigan (SOS Michigan) is predicting a bleak future for Michigan schools:
Michigan public schools will lay off thousands of employees and more than 100 districts could be insolvent if the state doesn’t find a way to plug a $400-per-pupil funding shortfall in funding next year.
That assessment comes today from a coalition of education groups that urged the Legislature to resolve what they call a school funding crisis by July 1, the start of a new fiscal year for schools.
Save Our Students (SOS), a coalition of 17 associations that represent school and school officials statewide, released results of a survey of 300 of the state’s 540 school districts that paints a bleak picture of 4,000 additional layoffs statewide next year, school closures and elimination of programs.
The survey indicates 47 school districts could deplete their fund reserves this year, and another 60 to 80 could do so next year…
The Detroit News adds a list of more findings from the survey:
- 85 percent report class sizes will increase due to staff cuts and closing schools.
- 83 percent will freeze salaries and benefits for some or all employees.
- 76 percent plan to combine services with other districts to cut costs.
- 56 percent will reduce or eliminate extracurricular activities.
- 53 percent will cancel orders for major capital spending.
- 46 percent will reduce or eliminate bus transportation for students.
I hate to say it, but Michigan’s elected officials have been turning a blind eye to this brewing storm for years. Don’t believe me? Here’s Jack Lessenberry from 4 years ago:
Someday we may find leaders who have the vision and courage to fix it, but in the meantime, we need to avoid destroying public education in our state.
We still haven’t found leaders with the courage to make the hard choices, and Jack’s still writing.