$165 State Funding Cut Per Student for Schools

The full state budget picture is still very much unclear.

But Governor Jennifer Granholm says she’ll sign a budget for public schools — one that includes a funding cut.

Last night, the House and Senate both passed a $165 cut per students in K-12 school aid.

For the NICE Community Schools in Ishpeming Township, that comes out to around $200,000.

They’ll be able to get by this year without making any layoffs or eliminating any programs.

But NICE Superintendent Mike Haynes says they’ll have to spend about two-thirds of their reserve cash balance this year, leaving very little wiggle room for the future.

There are still 2 lingering problems.

One is, this is a smaller cut than Lansing originally wanted.

State lawmakers don’t have a way to come up with the $100 million difference between what they wanted and this smaller cut.

The other is that if state revenue continues to erode, Haynes wonders what will happen a year from now.

He says he’s heard of possible cuts for next year of $500 per student or more.

Haynes says that could mean up to a $1 million loss for the NICE Schools, and he wonders where that money will come from.

The school budget bill also requires districts to make their financial data easier for people to find.

School systems will have to post detailed information about their budgets on the Internet.