In a message touting frugality and efficiency in government, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm called on school districts to share, or face consolidation as one way to address a tight state budget.
“We will force state departments and agencies to share services,” the Democrat said in her Feb. 8 State of the State Address. “I will ask the legislature to give me the authority to consolidate districts that refuse to take these kinds of prudent steps to move money out of the bureaucracy and into the classroom.”
The state has more than 800 public school districts, some with only a few thousand students.
Citing the need for Michigan residents to continue education beyond high school, Ms. Granholm proposed a scholarship program that would provide $4,000 in tuition for students who earn an associate’s degree, earn transfer status to a four-year institution, or complete a technical program.
Read the text of Gov. Granholm’s speech.
“We are, in essence, extending the promise of public education in Michigan,” she said.
Ms. Granholm added that she wants to provide financial assistance for districts that ratchet up high school curricula. The state will also work to replace its current high school assessment with a new exam that would also serve as a college placement measure. (“Michigan to Use ACT or SAT in New High School Exam,” Jan. 5, 2005.)
Ms. Granholm, who was set to release her budget plan late last week, added that she would create an Early Childhood Investment Corporation—using public and private support—to help ensure that young children are better prepared to enter school. The entity would work to consolidate state child-care efforts and overhaul regulations for day-care centers throughout the state.
The governor also said she would seek $800 million in infrastructure-improvement projects, including the modernization of aging school buildings, in order create some 36,000 jobs.
A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week