Skubick: Tweaks to Prop A would allow schools to raise money

Skubick: Tweaks to Prop A would allow schools to raise more money

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Gov. Rick Snyder has been privately told by his inner circle advisors that trying to "reform" education on the eve of his re-election is probably not the best idea. This is the same bunch that advised him that raising the pension tax on seniors was political dynamite.  

He sometimes listens to advice but then does pretty much what he wants. He got the pension tax and how he forges ahead with a new internal committee looking at education reform.

The governor is not alone.

Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) reveals that on a bipartisan basis she is looking at giving schools the power to raise more money to close what she thinks is a funding gap between schools.

Under Proposal A, local schools can cooperate to raise an enhancement millage, but lots of districts in the same area have to sign off. Her idea is to bypass the cooperation thing and allow individual schools to do this on their own.

Permitting individual schools to raise more money than the other guy, is what led to Prop A in the first place. The have's, usually in areas with citizens with money resided, were very good at drumming up local votes to do it, while the have not's were not.

That produced a mammoth gap between what little Johnny was getting in Bloomfield Hills compared to poor Janey in Mt. Clemens. There were fears in this town that someday a judge might step in and declare this inequality to be illegal and force the state to do something about it.

Lawmakers, led by then Gov. John Engler, beat the judge to the punch and voters agreed to scrap the property tax and replace it with the sales tax to fund schools.

When sales tax revenues were rolling into the state, Prop A worked pretty well, but still there were some, such as former Gov. Jennifer Granholm who wanted to tweak it.  She never did.

Ms. Barnett is hopeful her tweak will work and if the governor Snyder's brain trust advises him not to endorse it, maybe he will.

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