A coalition of Michigan education groups has launched a petition drive to pressure the legislature to vote on a guaranteed annual funding increase for schools and colleges. If the drive is successful but legislators fail to take up the proposal, as they have so far, the matter could go before voters in November 2006.
The coalition’s proposal seeks annual increases at least equal to the rate of inflation and would cap retirement costs for school districts and higher education institutions. It would also reduce the gap between the lowest-spending and highest-spending districts from $1,300 to $1,000 per pupil between 2007 and 2012. The additional costs resulting from the plan would be borne by the state.
Coalition members, which include the two statewide teachers’ unions, the Michigan school boards’ association, and several administrator groups, have six months to gather 254,706 signatures.