School officials say Snyder's education plan is bad

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Local school officials said they don’t expect to see the additional dollars.

The governor’s proposed budget would include a 2 percent increase in overall funding for public schools, universities and community colleges. Schools with the lowest or close-to-lowest foundation allowances would receive an additional $34 per student, and other schools could receive up to $100 per student for performance benchmarks or $16 per student for “best practices.”

Universities and community colleges would have to keep tuition hikes to less than 4 percent to receive the state aid.

Snyder’s proposal also includes an increase for the Great Start Readiness Program's budget from its current $109 million to $174 million in 2013-14 and $239 million in 2014-15.

Dennis Furton, superintendent for Spring Lake Public Schools, said it appears that the governor's proposal will have more of a negative impact than a positive one. He said it would leave the foundation allowance funding at the 2005-06 level and won’t provide the Spring Lake district with the funding for the balanced budget they had hoped.

“I look forward to the Legislature and governor again looking at K-12 education as an investment and key component of their overarching economic development plan,” Furton said.

Keith Konarska, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said the proposal would raise the foundation allowance floor to $7,000 per pupil, but ultimately would have a negative impact for his district. He said Grand Haven schools would actually see a decrease in state funding close to $350,000, also leaving it at funding levels comparable to the 2005-06 school year.

“If nothing changes in how the governor is proposing to distribute education funds, we would be forced to consider efficiencies of close to $3 million, a reality our district has taken great pride in avoiding during these challenging economic times,” Konarska said.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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