Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lies and Damn Lies About 20J

The mechanics of school funding can give anyone a headache. But that headache becomes a migraine when people who should know better (Representative Matthew Gillard) start telling half truths and lies about how things work. First some facts supported by a memo by the House Fiscal Agency regarding 20j funding (full memo is here - downloads as .pdf file):

Section 20j payments do not increase the gap between the lowest and the highest foundation allowance; it instead ensured that all districts receive the same foundation allowance increase. In fact, during this same period they were initiated, an equity payment of $200 was made to the basic foundation allowance to decrease the gap between the basic and state maximum foundations from $1,500 to $1,300.

Maybe Representative Matthew Gillard is just confused about what 20j represents. It represents work by prior state legislators that FIXED a problem with proposal A; it ensures that all districts receive equal increases in the basic foundation allowance. Representative Gillard now wants to break things that were previously fixed. Contact him at mattewgillard@house.mi.gov and Speaker Andy Dillion at andydillon@house.mi.gov and ask them to read their own Fiscal Agency Memos.

This link (20j Impact) shows how 40 districts will be robbed by Representative Gillard if his plan is passed. The only reason these districts realize higher spending than others is because the residents of these district TAX THEMSELVES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL to support public education. Representative Gillard’s move will effectively steal money from these districts without doing anything to address the basic flaws in Michigan’s school funding mechanism. If he really cared about education, he’d do the hard work of addressing that headache first instead of further smashing a broken system.

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