An open challenge for the MI charter family: let them hear you roar

Dan Quisenberry
Oct 16, 2019 3:16:08 PM

It's been a long month folks, and we've still got a couple weeks for things to get interesting. As you have likely heard, Gov. Whitmer used a line-item veto on Oct. 1, 2019 to cut a $240 per-pupil increase for charter school students, while OK'ing the funding for district students. 

Let's be clear: that funding increase has not been restored yet, and there's no indication a solution is on the horizon. Here's the breakdown: the only feasible way this gets resolved is if a supplemental budget is passed (by both the House and the Senate), and then signed by the Governor. So far, supplemental budgets have been introduced by the Senate, the House and the Governor. Sounds simple enough, right? 


Those supplemental budgets don't all include the restoration of charter school funding - in fact, the Governor's very own supplemental budget does NOT. So, if she's already used a veto to cut our funding once, and now clearly does not see us as a priority in her supplemental budget, what's to stop her from slashing that funding again, if and when it gets to her desk? We're not a priority. 

We're a sacred cow. A pawn. A hostage.

One that is being used to strategically pull MI Republicans back to the table to discuss road funding, on the Governor's terms. In one (rather insulting), devastating move, Gov. Whitmer has packaged us up and labeled us as a Republican pet project that she can use to bargain for the funds she wants to fix our damn roads. As you can imagine, her fellow legislators aren't enjoying this strong-arm move - and they've indicated they're not ready to be pushed around. It's a political standoff made for the history books, and we're caught smack dab in the middle: one of the many innocent bystanders paying the price of this waiting game.

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So here's our reality: we don't know if or when this funding issue will be resolved. It could take weeks. Months. And in the meantime, nearly $36M that is rightfully owed to the public school students in charter schools across the state is held in limbo - our schools will have to make do without. Now, keep in mind that we've got savvy educators on our team - they've been turning out academic performance, growth and innovation, all while operating at the state minimum for per-pupil funding, as required by state law. They WILL walk right past that "make do" line and continue pushing boundaries for the better, despite having less to work with.

But I'm not satisfied with that. In fact, I'm irate about it. This political fight is impacting real kids, limiting our public school teachers, and hurting families and communities.

And while I'm not confident that our elected officials will deliver on a fix to this issue, I know that we have the power to make change if we put our minds to it. We are Democrats, Republicans, city-goers, Great Lakes travelers, Yoopers and more. We come from every corner of the Mitten. Some of us yell "Go Green," others "Go Blue," (a few crazy ones even cheer for the Buckeyes). But we all stand united in our passion and support for our charter schools. 

These are our kids on the line, this is our fight.

No matter what side of the aisle you stand on, I challenge you to ask more of your elected officials and Governor Whitmer. Ask them to hear your story. Ask them why our charter students have been targeted with this funding cut. Let them know that we are NOT collateral damage, not a sacred cow, not a hostage - today, or ever. 

We are the voices of Michigan's charter schools, and we demand to be heard. 


Stand up for MI charters today!

Tell Governor Whitmer and your elected officials that charter school funding MUST be restored.

Act now

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