Wednesday, June 11, 2008

House Passes K-12 Budget With $32.2 Million Deficit

Last night the House passed the K-12 budget for the new budget year. This budget grows by 23% in general fund spending and 4% in total spending. For the first time in my memory, a bill has passed that actually spends MORE than the funds available. It is in the RED by over $32 million.

It includes several new or expanded programs that, although laudable in their intent, are inadvisable in a year when funds are not available. Some of the programs included in this year's budget are:
  • $32 million for new Small High School Infrastructure Program. It makes available up to $300 million of bond revenue to build new small schools in places like Detroit
  • $22 million increase in School readiness grants for 7,000 additional "at risk" four-year-olds
  • $5 million increase in Great Start Communities Grants
  • $2 million increase in School Based Health Centers
  • $300,000 for Communities in Schools programs

In addition, the bill cuts by 1/2 the foundation grant for schools that offer 1/2 day kindergarten. This, in effect, mandates full day kindergarten for all schools.

You can judge for yourself the value of each of these programs and whether we are getting our money's worth, but the bottom line is, we now have a proposed budget of $13.4 billion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How can I impress upon my legislators that this strategy is crazy? Don't they have ANY responsibility to us, the taxpayers?