$40 million cut to School Aid Budget ends current unification talks

LANSING, Mich. – Today the House and Senate Conference Committee on the School Aid Budget cut over $40 million to the School Aid Budget as a result of projected revenue shortfalls.

The cut eliminated an increase to per pupil funding for Redford Township students in the case of the unification of South Redford School District and Redford Union School District.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” said Senator David Knezek, (D–Dearborn Heights), Minority Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “As I’ve said from the beginning, unification in Redford Township cannot happen without adequate financial resources to support our students throughout and after a transition process.”

The current funding formula for unified schools districts takes a weighted average of the two original foundation allowances for each district and adds $100.00 to that number.

MSD_Knezek_RedfordTwpStudentsEarlier in budget negotiations, Sen. Knezek secured an amendment that changed the funding formula for unified school districts to the higher of the two original foundation allowances, plus $100.00. This new funding formula would have provided most Redford Township students with $8,015.00 per pupil in a unified school district. That amounts to an increase of $100.00 per pupil in South Redford and $624.00 per pupil in Redford Union.

In total, the new formula would have provided Redford Township students with an additional $2.5 million per year under current enrollment numbers. One time funding in the amount of $5 million would have also been available to help cover unification costs.

Under the 2016-2017 budget that was adopted today, South Redford School District students will receive a foundation allowance of $8,010.00 and Redford Union School District will receive a foundation allowance of $7,511.00, a difference of $499.00 between the two districts.

Sen. Knezek has long believed that a unified district could establish Redford Township as a destination district, bringing together the best aspects of both districts to provide enhanced programming and services.

“Redford Township has been having this conversation for more than five decades,” said Sen. Knezek. “It’s not right that students on one side of town receive almost $500 more for their education every year. Regardless of what happens this budget year, we still need to address that inequity to ensure children don’t suffer under a broken funding system.”