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Kalamazoo Public School officials critical of new K-12 budget


KALAMAZOO (WZKO) -- Kalamazoo Schools finance Director Gary Start says the Legislature’s surprise compromise on K-12 funding has left him with a 580-thousand dollar hole blown in his budget as they were about to put the final touches on next year’s spending plan.

He says its not just this year.

They have fallen further behind over the years because they have not only lost income, but the money they do get has less purchasing power because of inflation.

He says they have experienced the equivalent of a 15% spending cut since Rick Snyder was elected Governor.

Kalamazoo School trustees received a briefing on the budget last night. They will be expected to vote on it at their next meeting.

Kalamazoo Schools Supt. Michael Rice is blasting the legislature’s new two tiered funding formula for schools and the process they used to adopt it.

Dr. Rice says the legislature’s drive to provide more equity in funding ignored the real inequities there are schools with students with high poverty rates that come from disadvantaged communities.

Further, he says this new formula was adopted in conference committee with no opportunity for anyone to give input.

Rice says the achievement gap is a far more critical problem, and its far more important that they address that than a funding gap.