State budget effects on schools concern parents

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By Ian Oberg
Mason Times staff writer

The effects of Gov. Rick Snyder’s state budget proposal on public schools has some local parents concerned.

Under Snyder’s proposed budget, public school districts anticipate a 5 percent increase in retirement costs, as well as a 4 percent cut in funding.  The retirement cost increase would require districts to pay amounts equal to 26 percent of employees’ salaries into the state retirement system, and the cut in funding would cut districts $300 per pupil, in addition to the already-budgeted $170 per pupil cut.

To make up for these losses, districts would have to reevaluate their budgets, possibly questioning the necessity of some athletic programs, extracurricular programs, and school busing.

With these possibilities on the horizon, some parents in Mason are concerned.

“My oldest son has special needs and so he gets a lot of services through the school,” said Cortney Tostevin, a Mason resident and parent.  “I would hate to see any of that taken away.”

“Because of budget cuts and the economy, a lot of parents don’t have enough money to provide for their kids, so they rely on the schools to provide those services.”

The future of school also concerns Tostevin.

“I know that some schools have approached the idea, but in a rural area like this, it might be difficult.”
— Cortney Tostevin

Concerned parent Ingrid Nova shares Tostevin’s sentiments.

“Looking forward to when my daughter attends kindergarten, these budget cuts would certainly affect it,” said Nova.  “Currently they don’t have a full-day kindergarten program, and when I looked into it, it was because of budget issues.”

“Now, with these recent cuts, it makes me wonder if they would ever be able to have a full-day kindergarten program.”

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