Several Utica Community Schools teachers will join hundreds of Michigan teachers Tuesday and wear red in protest of Gov. Rick Snyder’s school funding cuts. Members of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), with signs in hand, will walk out with their students at dismissal time to talk to parents about the cuts.
In May, the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate approved a measure to cut public school spending by an additional $300 per pupil. Some districts could get another $100 per student if they achieve so-called "best financial practices," which include such things as consolidating services. The $300 cut will come on top of a $170-per-student reduction enacted this fiscal year.
The MEA said Snyder transferred more than a billion dollars from the K-12 education budget to pay for a no-strings-attached, $1.8-billion tax break to businesses.
"The Governor and the Republican legislature took that surplus and gave it to business in the form of a tax break which created an artificial K-12 education budget deficit," the MEA said in a press release.
The MEA said the K-12 budget began the year with a surplus; the tax break created an artificial K-12 education budget deficit.
The MEA said the deficit will force the schools to experience significant reductions in staffing, resulting in higher class sizes for students, cuts in school clubs and activities, cuts in counseling services, cuts in sports, arts and music, cuts in school supplies for students and cuts that affect the quality of education for special-needs students.
Teachers around the state of Michigan have been wearing red on Tuesdays in silent protest. Tomorrow, MEA members will not only wear red, but also walk out of their buildings at dismissal carrying pro-education signs. Participating schools include Utica High School, Switzer Elementary School and Heritage Junior High and Oakbrook Elementary Schools in Sterling Heights.
For more information, contact Utica Education Association President Liza Parkinson at ELIZA.PARKINSON@UticaK12.org.