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Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FMAccording to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

MI School Superintendents Decry Stalled K-12 Budget

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Hundreds of Michigan school districts have started classes without a final 2020 budget in hand. Superintendents are beseeching lawmakers to finish the job.

Thousands of Michigan schools are starting a new year under a cloud of uncertainty as they wait for state lawmakers to hammer out the final K-12 education budget. 

 

School districts have been waiting since the end of June to learn how much state funding they’ll get this year.  The Michigan Legislature adjourned for its summer break without approving the K-12 budget.  That forced schools to delay a myriad of programming and personnel decisions.

 

Now, superintendents are pressuring lawmakers to finish the job.

 

Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Superintendent Ken Gutman has no idea what resources he has to support his 14,000 students.

 

“Will I have to lay people off?” Gutman asks.  “Will I have to look at using our fund balance, which is already precariously low?  Will I have to delay hiring teachers or social workers or others for some of our most vulnerable students as well?”

 

Gutman supports a plan by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to apply a “weighted” funding formula that spends more on special ed, at risk and career and technical education students.  Republican lawmakers have largely rejected that idea. 

 

The Michigan Legislature must finish the 2020 state budget by October 1.

 

 

 

 

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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