Sunday, January 15, 2012

Important!! All Day Kindergarten Funding Cuts

We need to get communication out to our legislators about All Day Kindergarten.  This is not an academic issue or an issue only for parents of Kindergarten students.  This is another straight funding cut.  The cut comes from the common sense desire of the framers of Proposal A who did not want to dictate the use of every dollar sent to local districts.  They felt that each grade level had a different level of funding needs and that these decisions could be made on the local level, thereby sending the same amount for a Kindergarten student as a high school student.  Our current legislators frame this as the school districts "ripping off" Lansing and they demand to set the funding for Kindergarten at half the amount of the full day student.  So, we will face a $900,000 cut if we keep our program as it is and a $450,000 cut if we ramp up our program.  Either way, this is an extreme cut when we are already facing multiple cuts and federal income declines as well as multiple other changes in education laws that have to be addressed.  This isn't the time to add All Day Kindergarten cuts to Michigan K-12 schools.  Please consider the following letter: 

Dear Ms. Posthumus-Lyons:
The proposal to reduce funding for districts operating half-day kindergarten programs is yet another huge blow to the public schools on top of the already unsustainable cuts the legislature and Governor imposed in the last budget. Our district stands to lose $900,000 if we stay with a half day program.  If we implement a full-day kindergarten program, it will cost our district $450,000, which the legislature is not proposing to fund.  It is unclear how this proposal will save the state any money.  Surely every district will have to go to full-day kindergarten.  It is safe to assume that student enrollment for kindergarten will not decrease because of this, so the cost to the state is the same.  The only effect this proposal will have is to cost districts more money, meaning that they will have to make even more cuts to significant academic programs, which will affect the students directly.

The per pupil funding is not intended to represent the cost per pupil; it is intended to represent the total cost to educate all the students divided by the number of students.  The fact is, it costs significantly more to educate a high school student than a kindergartener.  Every other legislature understood this and allowed districts to apportion the funding to accommodate this fact.  When you and your colleagues suggest cutting per pupil funding in half for each half day kindergartener, you are taking precious resources from the higher grades. 

I demand that you abandon this latest assault on the public schools.


Mr. MacGregor is 73rd District Representative.  EGR will be part of the 73rd District after the 2012 election.  Consider introducing yourself to him and letting him know how you feel.

Senator Mark Jansen will continue to be our Senator after redistricting.