SOUTHFIELD-Senator Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) and Representative Rudy Hobbs (Lathrup Village) gathered with concerned parents, students and teachers at a town hall meeting at the Southfield Public Library tonight to discuss education issues. The discussion addressed state budget cuts, declining student population and Emergency Financial Managers. Casandra Ulbrich, Vice President of the State Board of Education, also participated.
“When we cut our schools, we are disinvesting in our future, undermining our economy and moving our state backward,”said Senator Gregory. “Tonight, we heard how devastating these cuts have been to our local schools right here in Oakland County and it’s clear that we need to put political differences aside and come together on a solution for the good of our children.”
K-12 schools in Michigan were cut as much as $470-per pupil as part of the 2011-2012 Budget. Oakland County Schools were slashed almost $37 million as a result, including a $1.37 million cut to the Oak Park City School District, a $1.9 million cut to the Southfield Public Schools, a $2.14 million cut to the Farmington Public School District and a devastating $2.96 million cut to the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.
“Tomorrow’s economy is going to be run by today’s children, and we need a viable, effective education system that is properly preparing them for the future,” said Representative Hobbs. “Our children are our greatest asset, and in turn, education should be our greatest investment. We need to put an end to the drastic cuts to our schools and do more to give our schools the resources they need.”
Senator Gregory and Representative Hobbs support a constitutional amendment that would guarantee that the state’s School Aid Fund only be used for K-12 schools and not diverted to other budget priorities. The current budget cut several hundred million dollars from the School Aid Fund to help pay for a $1.7 billion corporate tax cut supported by Governor Snyder and legislative Republicans.
“As a member of the State Board of Education, I have heard firsthand the concerns of parents and teachers regarding the future of our schools both tonight and on a daily basis,”said Casandra Ulbrich, Vice President of the State Board of Education. “I appreciate Senator Gregory and Representative Hobbs for sponsoring this education town hall tonight and for fighting on behalf of our schools. I encourage citizens to continue to communicate directly with their Representatives and Senators to ensure that public education continues to be a priority for our state.”