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Support Desperately Needed to Fight Further Cuts to State School Aid Budget!

Dear Browning Mama & Papa Bears:

Recently, our 3rd Grader Cami brought home a wonderful book from school titled “The Legend of Sleeping Bear” – the story of a mother bear who does everything in her power to protect & look out for her cubs.  While I am constantly amazed by the devotion of our families when it comes to ensuring our “cubs” are safe, healthy, & happy, this book reminded me of the real reason I volunteer my time & advocate (for not only our other children – Katie (Bemis-8), Connor (Browning-6), & Cami (Browning-3)) but all of the great kids at Browning & Bemis. Our children deserve nothing less than a quality education, challenging programs, and access to the latest technology that will help them thrive & succeed in our ever changing global marketplace.

What does this have to do with us? 

As you may know, Governor Granholm & the State Legislature are at a “stalemate” in terms of funding for Michigan’s school aid budget & how to adequately fund it.  This could mean a cut of $292 per student for the 2009/2010 school year (which started fiscally for the district in July!)  If this is approved, this reduction would result in an additional funding loss of $8.6M this year alone to UCS.  With state budget reductions over the years, UCS is currently receiving funding that is actually $2 less per student than we received during the 2002-2003 school year.  For more information, please visit the UCS website www.uticak12.org and click on the UCS News (located at the bottom of the main page.)

How can you help?

Please attend a meeting of parents at 7PM this Thursday, Nov. 5th at the Palazzo Grande Banquet Center on Van Dyke at 25 Mile Road in Shelby Township.  At this meeting, we’ll be joined by other UCS parents to learn more about how all of this affects us & sign letters addressed to the very legislators who will be deciding the fate of funding for our students.  Please let me know if you can attend ASAP so that I can relay to the school how many Browning/Bemis advocates to anticipate.

Whether you can attend or not, please contact your State Representative and your Senator ASAP and urge them to take the following actions:

  • Make public education a priority in Michigan!
  • Finalize & adequately fund K-12 budget for fiscal year 2009-2010.  We  are now in the fourth month of the school’s fiscal year.
  • Use all available funds (stimulus and school aid fund balance) to reduce any ADDITIONAL per pupil reduction.  They have already cut funding by almost $164 per student.
  • Allow districts the flexibility on spending to determine where any cuts could be made.
  • Ensure any structural reform/new revenues adequately fund education.

Please forward this message on to your network of interested parents and friends to help amplify the message that education must be a priority in Michigan!

On a side note, please be respectful in your communications with lawmakers!  I am told that other advocacy groups have lost sight of this.  While it is imperative that UCS (the 2nd largest district in the state) be viewed by our legislators as passionate, vocal, & a force to be reckoned with, our messages represent all of our parents after all – so we need to walk the walk.  

If you have difficulty contacting your legislator directly, please use these links:

To find your Representative: http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp  

To find your Senator: http://senate.michigan.gov/FindYourSenator/michiganfys.asp

I am confident our efforts can (& will) make a difference for every one of our “cubs.”  Our voices will be heard and we are almost there!  All of your efforts make such an impact & are greatly appreciated!

Best Regards,

Michelle Pugh

Browning PTA President & Proud UCS Parent