Taxpayer Dollars Advocating For More Taxpayer Dollars

-Jarrett Skorup

As I’ve gone through the school districts here in Michigan, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend:  School districts advocating on their websites for more money.  Some examples:

Saulte Area Public School Districts has a link on their website that reads, “Contact Your Legislators“.  It takes you to a page that gives you some “key points” about what to say.  The points are as follows:

  • The State of Michigan’s investment in our children is critical
  • You value your local public schools
  • You know that strong public schools are a key to economic development
  • Funding our public schools should be their top priority
  • You want the state to provide adequate and equitable funding for all public school students
  • You want to retain the high quality educational programs provided for your children

Another district, White Cloud Public Schools, asks people to “Share your views on school funding with your elected legislators in Lansing.”  It then lists the contact information.  Do you think White Cloud is suggesting people call legislators to voice their opinion that schools are overfunded?

The last example is probably the worst.  Mesick Consolidated Schools has a “Message from the Superintendent“.  This links to a letter that outlines the following positions:

They are against cutting state aid/funding and amend the act “such that reductions cannot occur midyear.”  They support stimulus funds being used “equitably” for schools.  It calls for a reduction in the number of Charter Schools by “reviewing their performance and revoking charters for those that are failing our students.”  (What about the public schools that are failing our students?).  It also calls for rolling back term limits to twelve years, which would seem to have little to do with schools. 

This letter is signed by:

Scott Crosby, Superintendent, Wexford-Missaukee ISD

Paul Liabenow, Superintendent, Cadillac Area Public Schools

Bud Ashton, Superintendent, Lake City Area Schools

J. Mark Parsons, Superintendent, Manton Consolidated Schools

Charles Chase, Superintendent, Marion Public Schools

Michael Harris, Superintendent, McBain Rural Agricultural Schools

Dennis Stratton, Superintendent, Mesick Consolidated Schools

Jim Ganger, Superintendent, Pine Rive Area Schools

Dr. Robert VanDellen, President, Baker College of Cadillac

 Why do we find this acceptable?  I remember being told in Junior High that my favorite teachers would be fired if a tax hike didn’t pass (even though my father was president of the Board of Education).

The funding of schools is a controversial political issue, so why are schools allowed to advocate for one position or the other?  We don’t allow public institutions to rally on behalf of candidates with tax dollars and we shouldn’t allow them to advocate for more of their own funding.


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