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Schools officials to endorse expanding MI sales tax

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By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI –

School officials will meet at the state Capitol Tuesday to call on the Legislature to expand Michigan's sales tax to cover services, and to adopt reforms that would rein in employee costs.

The coalition of administrators, school boards and PTAs is anxious to avoid a repeat of last year's cuts to K-12 schools.

Tom White is with the Michigan Association of School Boards. He says schools will be cut another $255 per student this year if the Legislature does not find new revenue and cost-savings.

"There is more urgency about what is going on with schools in this state than there ever has been in modern history," he says. "We have 40-some districts that are in deficit budgets - which is essentially in bankruptcy. We have another 80 or 90 districts that are right on the edge."

White says schools need to save money on health benefits and retirement costs, and remove some salary issues from collective bargaining. Teachers unions oppose some of the reforms.

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