Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grassroots/Friends of Kent County Schools Meeting Thursday 7pm

Meeting Reminder: Friends of Kent County Schools Grassroots Meeting

The Last Friends of Kent County

Schools Grassroots Meeting of the Year

Kent ISD - Educational Service Center
Thursday, May 19, 2011

from 7:00PM - 8:30PM

Contact Us

email: friendsofkentcounty@gmail.com

phone: 616.240.2256

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last Night's Education Forum Was Packed!

Last Night's Education Forum was packed.  Unfortunately, the venue was too small which left 50-100 people outside the VFW building and caused the Fire Marhsal to close the meeting.  We only heard opening remarks from 4 of the 8 legislators.  None of the questions was read.  I saw the basket of questions.  It looked like we could have been there for a long time.  See the article.  We need to keep up the momentum when this event is rescheduled.


Read This Update--Most Concerning about the School Aid Surplus


Monday, May 9, 2011

Press Release for Thursday's MI PTSA Rally in Lansing at noon

Rally For Our Children!

Michigan Parents to Protest Snyder's Proposed Funding Cuts to K-12 Education and Insist on Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Legislation

Lansing, Michigan — On Thursday, May 12th, the Michigan PTA, in conjunction with Bully Police USA, will hold a Rally For Our Children! The rally will take place at noon on the steps of the Capitol Building and will focus on two pressing issues: anti-bullying legislation and funding for K-12 public education.

A coalition of Michigan parents from Michigan PTA, PTO’s and Parent Action Networks will rally to send a strong message to the Michigan Legislature – leave the school aid fund alone. In April, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released his proposed budget that includes draconian cuts to every Michigan school district as well as large increases in mandated contributions to items like retirement funds. He also wants to raid the school aid fund to send money to community colleges and state universities. The proposed cuts will devastate our school system and force districts to make hard choices – such as eliminating arts programs and busing, laying off teachers, cutting special education programs and increasing class sizes.

Michigan school districts, most of whom made dramatic cuts last year, are struggling to find places to cut that won’t directly impact the children. The parent coalition is struggling to figure out why these large cuts are being proposed at all. If Governor Snyder left the school aid fund as it is, there would be a surplus of $130 per student, and the legislature is expected to announce an additional $500 million in revenue after their conference on May 16th. In Michigan, K-12 school districts must rely on the State to set their budget and allocate revenues, thanks to the funding structure put in place by Proposal A in 1994. That proposal prohibited districts from raising funds through millages. Districts now depend completely on the school aid fund - unlike higher education schools, who are free to raise tuitions and ask for increases through ballot initiatives. The parent groups understand the need for reform in education funding, and the tough times th e state is facing due to the economic downturn. However, attempting to drive reform through cuts doesn’t work, and is an illogical tactic that disproportionately affects our children. Our state needs to invest in our children to secure our future.

Michigan PTA, Bully Police USA and parents from across the state will also be rallying for comprehensive anti-bullying legislation. Michigan is one of only 4 states that has no anti-bullying laws.

Bullies have been around for too long and we can no longer wait to intervene. Each month over 250,000 students report being physically attacked. This is an apalling number and calls for society and government to intervene decisively.

The parent coalition is asking for support from citizens across the State of Michigan, whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or simply concerned for Michigan’s future. Please join us on the steps of the Capitol Building in Lansing at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th to show your support for the children of Michigan.

Michigan PTA has over 65,000 volunteer members statewide who are part of 400 individual parent groups dedicated to the welfare of children in schools and communities. Michigan PTA has been a relevant resource for families and communities, and a champion for the education and well-being of every child for 93 years. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who is concerned about the education, health and welfare of children and youth. Additional information is available at www.michiganpta.org.

Contact Info:

Sandra York

Michigan PTA Executive Director

Office: 734-975-9500

Cell Phone: 734-657-5444

Email: sandra.york@michiganpta.org

Mary DeYoung-Smith

Michigan PTA President



Michigan Parent Teacher Association

1390 Eisenhower Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

Phone: 734-975-9500 - Fax: 734-677-2407

Web site: www.michiganpta.org

Directions to the Education Forum in Lowell for tonight, May 9

Directions to the VFW in Lowell for tonight's Education Forum...take I96 east towards Lansing and go north on the Alden Nash exit. 3116 Alden Nash Ave., Lowell, MI 49331. We will meet at the Middle School Parking lot at about 4:45-4:55 to carpool.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Articles about the Historic House Cut to Schools and the Education Forum on May 9

This is the article about the historic cut made in the house last night prior to having all of the information which would come from the May 16 Revenue Conference.  Now both the House and Senate have passed a School Aid Fund Bill.  They have to negotiate a compromise in committee prior to bringing a budget for the governor to sign.  Lucy

Here is the article describing the Education Forum on Monday night.  Post on the EGR Legislative Committee Facebook page if you are planning on going or if you need a ride.  Lucy


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

URGENT Kent County Education Forum Monday, May 9


Open Discussion of Michigan's Budget Crisis, Governor Snyder's Budget Proposal, and What It All Means for Education

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

V.F.W. Flat River Post 8303
3116 Alden Nash SE
Lowell, MI 49331
5:30 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Special Guest Moderator:
Suzanne Geha, Former WOOD-TV 8 Anchor

Legislative Panelists:

State Senator David Hildenbrand
State Senator Mark Jansen
State Representative David Agema
State Representative Brandon Dillon
State Representative Thomas Hooker
State Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons
State Representative Pete MacGregor
State Representative Roy Schmidt
State Representative Ken Yonker

For More Information Please Contact Jessica Scalabrino in the
Office of State Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons at 517-373-0846

Election, GR Press article and Senate Budget proposal

Congratulations to our newest School Board member, Beth Milanowski and to Brian Ellis for winning his seat back. Thank you also to Mr. Rick Ostrander. We have benefitted from the dialogue that occurred because you ran. Here is a link to the article in the Grand Rapids Press about budget cuts under the current budget proposal. The House appropriations committee has essentially rubber stamped the Governor's proposal. This is poor from the perspective that each branch of government needs to check and balance the other branches. The Senate voted on their version of the budget which includes a half foundation grant for half day kindergarten. This makes sense until you realize that under Proposal A in 1994, the State of Michigan did not micromanage the foundation grants based on how much it really takes to educate each child. It costs more than the foundation grant to educate a high schooler. So, the state split the difference and paid more for kindergarten and not enough for high school, figuring the districts would know how to allocate the money. Now, there is no memory of that discussion and the legislators are feeling as though the districts are ripping off the state. Our district will lose $900,000 if this goes through. It will still lose $450,000 if the kindergarten program is boosted to whole day due to expenses related to that. High school will suffer. Although the foundation cut is less in the Senate budget, this kindergarten thing will be worse.  Lucy