State News Roundup
Per-Pupil State Aid to Drop in Michigan, Districts Told
Michigan officials notified school districts this month that an unexpected surge in enrollments will cause per-pupil funding to drop by about $10 this year.
The midyear adjustment will force budget modifications in many districts. But Arthur E. Ellis, the state's interim superintendent of public instruction, said state lawmakers will likely make up the shortfall by allocating more money.
The state will make the cut over the next five months as it distributes aid to Michigan's 560 districts. The action became necessary when officials learned that about 6,000 more students than expected enrolled in the public schools this year.
Some legislators had urged the state education department not to make the cuts, in anticipation of finding new money. To keep per-pupil funding steady would require an increase of 0.2 percent to the more than $8 billion the state grants to local schools.
Voucher Hearings To Begin
A Wisconsin state supreme court justice has recused herself from this week's high-profile arguments over the expansion of the Milwaukee school-choice program to include religious schools.
The state high court was scheduled to hear arguments on Feb. 27 over whether expansion of the program violates the state and federal constitutions. Last fall, the court temporarily blocked the 1995 law that allowed religious schools to participate. (See Education Week, Sept. 6, 1995.)
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is not required to explain why she will not participate in the case. But she did receive campaign contributions last year from the political arm of the Wisconsin Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, which has joined in the challenge to the voucher program.