In the dropdowns below are fact-based talking points you can use to help spread the word of the severity of the current situation when speaking with friends and neighbors. Your advocacy will help our children and our nation!
General Talking Points
- Recently we learned that the state is facing a significant budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps that have been taken to protect public health.
- Without additional federal or state action, school budgets for this school year could be cut by $700 per student.
- While school buildings have been closed to ensure safety, the work of schools has continued as districts have provided millions of meals to students and staff have delivered home-based learning plans through the wide distribution of technology, internet access and printed instructional packets.
- With just a few weeks of school left, there isn’t time for budgetary adjustments nor savings. We need funding to finish the year that schools were promised.
- The economy will not be fully open until schools are safely open and that will take additional resources - not reductions.
- Parents whose jobs help drive the economic recovery will have difficulty returning to work if schools do not have the funding needed so their children are safe.
- If enacted, we fear these cuts will put the safety of students and staff at risk as we will not have the resources necessary to adequately implement public health recommendations such as health screening, social distancing and contact tracing recommendations.
- Schools are the bedrock of communities and we need to build around them not reduce their funding.
- We know there are discussions happening in Washington and in Lansing. We are calling on our federal and state lawmakers to come together to make sure these cuts do not happen to our schools.
Parent/Community Supporter Talking Points
- Recently we learned that Michigan is facing a severe budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and schools could face up to an $700 per student cut for this year.
- This would be devastating as school districts have stepped up to support students and families during this time of need and were expecting to receive this funding.
- This pandemic has shown how valuable our schools are and our economy cannot fully open without safe schools.
- Federal: We are calling on you to provide flexibility in already allocated CARES act resources and pass additional funding to make certain our schools can safely open in the fall.
- We are calling on state lawmakers to:
- Write a letter to Congress asking for additional aid to support state budget shortfalls.
- Pass a resolution encouraging Congress to take action.
- Take immediate action to remove Community Colleges and Universities from the School Aid Fund ($763 million).
- Utilize responsibly the Budget Stabilization Fund to mitigate a current year proration.
- Redirect any unnecessary spending either in the general fund or the school aid fund to protect operational line items.
- For FY’ 21 eliminate programmatic and vendor line items in the school aid budget.
- Allow more local flexibility with operational revenues.
- Providing a safe environment in the fall relies on adequate funding.
What to Ask Your Legislator to Do
- In recent months Congress has taken action to provide historic support for families and business across the country. We now need their attention focused on providing support for our schools.
- Of the $2 trillion allocation under the CARES Act from Washington, less than 1% ($16.5 billion) was allocated for K-12 purposes.
- If the economists are correct, the resulting hit to education spending would be two and a half times worse than the lowest point of the last recession in 2008-09.
- A 30% reduction in state education funding over each of the next 2 years could result in cuts to public P-12 systems of almost $200 billion.
- This isn’t a new request, in the past the federal government has provided $97.4 billion to public schools across the country.
- Members of Congress can also help by providing flexibility in the $3.1 billion already allocated to Michigan under the Coronavirus Relief Act.
- We would ask our state legislature to write letters to members of Congress and pass resolutions to show the need for support.
- We would also ask state legislators to take immediate action to remove Community Colleges and Universities from the School Aid Fund ($764 million).
- Utilize the Budget Stabilization Fund ($1.2 billion) responsibly to mitigate current year reductions.
- Redirect any unnecessary spending either in the General Fund or the School Aid Fund to protect operational line items for schools.
Possible District Reductions
- As school leaders we know our students need more support during this time of need - not less. But if action isn’t taken by our political leaders and this reduction occurs we will have no choice but to make cuts.
- If this reduction occurs, our schools will look very different when school doors reopen. Schools will be forced to make these types of cuts (examples, districts need to decide what they may need to cut):
- Funding will be inadequate to launch plans to decrease class sizes and launch school safety protocols to protect students in the fall.
- Class sizes could grow to 10 to 15 more students per classroom and teacher jobs will be lost.
- Athletic programs could be considerably reduced or eliminated.
- Bus driver jobs could be cut and no busing could be offered except to students receiving special education services as required by federal law.
- Student support services in areas like counseling and social work, including for students with special needs, could be cut/reduced.
- All academic co-curricular activities like robotics and science olympiad could be suspended
- All arts programs and related staff could be lost including art, music, theater, marching band, orchestra, choir
- Some districts might not have the resources to re-open in the fall.
Staff Supporter Talking Points
- As an educator/staff member I am asking for your support of schools during this pandemic.
- It would be devastating if our schools took a $700 per student cut during this time.
- Our schools are the bedrock of our community and have done so much for families during this time of need.
- As an educator I also know our students will need additional support when they return to school to make up for lost instructional time during our closure.
- This will require additional resources and support so we can meet their individual needs.
- We also need to make sure we have the resources to safely open in the fall.
- I am thankful to have maintained my personal connections with my students.
- They and their families are struggling in many ways in this time of crisis.
- To enact a cut of $700 per student would be devastating to these students and families as schools would not be able to open their doors safely in the fall and many programs would be cut.
- We also know if schools aren’t open, many parents will have difficulties returning to work.
- That’s why I’m asking you to stop the proration and properly fund schools.
Senator Jon Bumstead (R) Supports Education
State Representative Rachel Hood (D) Supports Education
Senator Pete MacGregor (R) Supports Education
Senator Winnie Brinks (D) Support for Education
Senator Winnie Brinks (D) Floor Speech
State Rep Tommy Brann (R) Supports Education
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