In February, Gov. Rick Snyder plans to present the Michigan Public Education Finance Act of 2013, which would replace the 1979 School Aid Act. If approved, the bill would include several changes, including:
— Remove district ownership of students so they can participate in any public school district. The per-pupil funding that districts receive from the state every year would follow the student to the school they attend.
— Give high school students an incentive to graduate early. For every semester a student graduates early, they could earn a $2,500 scholarship, to a maximum of $10,000.
— Allow students to take online courses throughout the state. Districts offering online courses would receive public funding based on student performance.
Grand Haven Superintendent Keith Konarska said he has significant concerns on how the proposed act would impact school districts.
Currently, schools are operating at the same funding as the 2005-06 school year because of funding moving away from K-12 programs, Konarska said.
“If that is the result of funding moving with the student, it could dramatically reduce funding for our current programs,” he said. “In the end, the devil is in the details, so we will continue to monitor the work of our (state) legislators very closely in the coming weeks.”
Still, Konarska said there are parts of the plan that align with what they’re doing at Grand Haven schools, such as online courses through the district's Cyber School.
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