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Dollar Bay-TC board mulls funding changes

Snyder education plan discussed

November 27, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

DOLLAR BAY - Gov. Rick Snyder has recently proposed a school-funding model that would essentially eliminate local school districts, and the plan has some local school officials concerned.

During the regular meeting of the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education Monday, Superintendent Dr. Jan Quarless told board members he has many questions about Snyder's plan, which would allow parents to send their children to any school in the state and funding would follow the student.

"It has tremendous, tremendous ramifications," Quarless said of the plan.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education discuss Gov. Rick Snyder’s school financing plan, which would essentially eliminate local school districts, during their regular meeting Monday.

Quarless said although in the governor's plan, state funding would follow students wherever they would go, there are other funding issues not explained.

"Who provides the transportation?" he asked. "That hasn't been clarified."

Funding for individual schools will be based on an average daily count, which could fluctuate during a school year more than it does now, Quarless said.

Another aspect of Snyder's proposal is basing funding on performance on tests, but Quarless said that doesn't account for the fact schools are also supposed to make students better people.

"I don't think (testing) is a real reflection of student growth," he said.

There are too many variables which could affect a student's ability to do well on tests, Quarless said, such as family life and other personal issues.

Another part of the Snyder plan would give scholarships to students who graduate early, which Quarless said will leave too many students behind.

"I think it's elitist," he said.

School board President Dallas Bond said he thinks the concepts of funding based on performance and seat count to be contradictory.

Bond said the governor's plan appears to him to be moving the state to more online education.

Quarless said under the Snyder funding plan, local districts, which have buildings closed by officials to save money, would have to rent or sell them to charter schools or private schools.

Proponents of Snyder's education funding plan claim it will be more cost efficient, but Quarless said the opposite will be true.

"I say that will prove otherwise over time," he said.

Board members also heard about the 2011-12 school audit from Debbie Bradford, audit manager with Rukkila Negro and Associates.

Bradford said the district's audit was an unqualified opinion with no findings and no compliance issues.

The district's general fund is $307,188, which is an increase of about $5,000.

Bradford said the district did a good job maintaining an adequate fund equity despite the loss of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

Bradford said district staff were helpful during the audit.

"There were no difficulties with the audit," she said. "You have really good internal controls."

Board members unanimously approved the audit as presented to them. They also approved the recently completed 2012-14 teacher contract.



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