States

Michigan Governor Pushing Scholarship Expansion

By Bess Keller — February 13, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

When anonymous donors made it possible for Kalamazoo, Mich., to offer every graduate of the city’s schools a hefty scholarship to a state college or university, the new program drew national attention.

It certainly captured the interest of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, who noted that school enrollment and property values both went up in the city of 77,000 after the “Kalamazoo Promise” was announced.

Nor was it lost on the governor that no other locality in the nation, let alone in Michigan, had launched another such program.

In her State of the State address last week, Gov. Granholm put bully-pulpit power behind an idea that many see as having considerable economic-development potential. She also wants to help financially by funneling a portion of growing property-tax revenue to communities that already have committed substantial money to a scholarship fund.

“I am proposing legislation to establish ‘Promise Zones’ that will help our distressed communities create public-private partnerships to replicate the generosity of the Kalamazoo Promise,” the governor told a joint session of the state legislature on Feb. 6. Referring to various communities around the state, she said, “I see a Flint Promise and a Benton Harbor Promise … and a Detroit Promise to stimulate economic growth in those cities.”

The promised state funding would not replace private philanthropy, said a senior adviser to the governor.

“You still need incredibly generous people,” said Chuck Wilbur, the adviser.

But after the initial investment, he said, increases in property value could help make the locality’s scholarship fund “something of a perpetual-motion machine.”

Read a complete transcript of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm’s 2007 State of the State address. Posted by Michigan’s Office of the Governor.

Kalamazoo has seen its property values rise by between 7 percent and 10 percent over the past two years, and the 11,000-student school district’s enrollment went up by 900 this year over last, according to figures from the governor’s office.

Gov. Granholm’s attention may have the desired effect, especially if localities can aim for a scaled-back version of the program in which the scholarships would cover just those tuition costs that are going unmet, according to observers.

“I absolutely think there will be interest,” said Summer Hallwood Minnick, the director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. “It’s important that you have the top executive in the state hold it up as a priority to invest in education and invest in cities … if we are going to compete.”

Increased Aid

The ability to compete for jobs framed much of Ms. Granholm’s speech. The governor, a Democrat, argued that investment in people, and especially in their education, is at the heart of the solution to the state’s lagging economy—not, as she said her critics claim, low taxes.

Staring down a possible revenue shortfall of more than $3.5 billion over the next 18 months, the governor pledged both an increase in state education aid and an expansion in preschool slots.

Gov. Granholm said that she would not cut the state’s per-pupil grant to districts in the middle of the school year, despite the current $377 million shortfall.

Her budget proposal for fiscal 2008 calls for a $178 per-pupil increase in base aid to local districts, for a minimum allocation of $7,286 per student—a 2.5 percent increase.

The spending plan would also put $200 million toward opening 26,000 full-day pre-K places for 4-year-olds in low-income neighborhoods. Districts that received the money would be required to make full-day kindergarten available to those children when they turn five, a rare offering in many areas of the state, according to Mr. Wilbur.

The governor’s plan would use a mix of government economies, program cuts, and higher taxes to try to fix the state’s fiscal imbalance and make room for additional spending. Michigan’s dependence on the faltering automobile industry has brought years of job losses and declining revenues.

The legislature lowered business taxes last year when both chambers were controlled by Republicans. In the spending plan the governor also unveiled last week, Gov. Granholm proposed a business-tax increase along with a 2 percent tax on services. The proposed budget faces a Republican majority in the Senate and a Democratic one in the House.

Gov. Granholm said in her speech that she wants to change compulsory schooling laws at both ends of children’s school careers. She proposed requiring kindergarten and stretching the school-leaving age to 18.

The proposed budget also includes money for 10 high schools that would coordinate with community colleges so that students would graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

A version of this article appeared in the February 14, 2007 edition of Education Week as Michigan Governor Pushing Scholarship Expansion


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States During Site Visit From Cardona, Illinois Governor Defends Vaccine, Testing Policies
“The testing regimen is there in order to make sure that they’re not entering the institution where they work and spreading COVID-19.”
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune
3 min read
The Student Council lead the creation of “sensory hallways” at Western Branch Middle School in Chesapeake, Va.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona looks on as Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters after touring Access Hawthorne Family Health Center, which is offering COVID-19 vaccines at 3040 S. Cicero Ave. in Cicero, as part of the Department of Education's "Return to School Road Trip" events in the Chicago area, Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 21, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
States Kentucky Ends All Statewide Mask Mandates After Governor's Vetoes Overridden
The Republican-led legislation strips the Democratic governor's ability to issue statewide mask mandates in schools or anywhere else.
Jack Brammer and Alex Acquisto, Lexington Herald-Leader
4 min read
In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky's governor said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will quarantine after a member of his security detail who drove with his family the day before later tested positive for COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he and his family feel fine, show no coronavirus symptoms and have tested negative for the virus.
In this Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
States Bill to Restrict How Race and Racism Is Taught in Schools Headed to Texas Governor
If the "critical race theory" bill sounds familiar, that's because lawmakers passed a similar one during the regular legislative session.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
4 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Infographic Which States Are Reporting COVID-19 Cases in Schools?
Some states are reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in their schools and districts. Use this table to find your state's data.
Image shows the coronavirus along with data charts and numbers.
iStock/Getty Images Plus