By George T. Darany
As summer begins to wind down, I wanted to take the opportunity to offer students, parents, teachers and other faculty members best wishes for the upcoming school year.
Our children’s education always has been a top priority of mine. As a member of the House Education Committee, I have had the opportunity to review legislation that specifically impacts our kids and the future of this state. There is no doubt that we must be investing in our children’s education if we want to move Michigan forward.
Despite the drastic and unnecessary cuts that we have seen pushed through by the Republican-controlled legislature this session, I remain committed to fighting for our students. It is especially important to me to make sure that Dearborn schools receive their fair share of state funding which is so crucial to their success.
It is important to note that this year the Michigan’s School Aid Fund began with a surplus, but by the time the final budget was signed into law, our schools were cut by millions of dollars. This may be hard to believe, but if it had not been for the innovative partnership between Dearborn’s school administrators and teachers, we would have felt the impact of these cuts even worse than we do now. In fact, legislation that was moving through the House had to be amended so not to penalize Dearborn for these the cost-saving measures.
When the 2010 census numbers were released, Dearborn was one of only a handful of communities in the state that had a relatively stable population base. This is important because school funding is moving away from a categorical approach, to more of a per-pupil formula. In fact, much of the per-pupil dollars will be allocated according to the results of the student count day on the first Wednesday in October.
This is why it is so important to make sure that all eligible students are in school on Oct. 5. In the past, the state used a blended student count at 75 percent for fall and 25 percent for spring and then took the average. However, now the student count will be weighted at 90 percent for fall and 10 percent for spring.
During the past two months, an Education Reform Workgroup has been meeting in Lansing to discuss issues including topics like funding, a year-round calendar for our schools, and student assessment and performance. I have attended these meetings and have made sure that Dearborn’s concerns are heard. As we look forward to the start of the school year, I encourage you to please continue to share your perspectives and concerns with me. Many of you have already contacted my office and I have appreciated your thoughts and feedback as we work together for our hometown of Dearborn.
State Representative George T. Darany represents the 15th House District. To contact him, call (855) 775-1515 or email him at [email protected]. To sign up for his e-newsletter, visit his website, house.mi.gov/gdarany.