25 May Protesters March for School Funding (MI)May 25, 2010
By: Sarah LambertSource: Battle Creek Enquirer
Enough is enough.
About 200 people made this message clear on Monday in Marshall when they held signs and marched down Michigan Avenue as part of a rally meant to draw attention to what many called inadequate public school funding.
The rally was one of more than 40 across the state, said Tara Wilbur, UniServ director for the Michigan Education Association, the state teacher’s union.
UniServ advocates and bargains for local schools, Wilbur said, and planning this rally was one way to do that.
"We want education to be funded equitably and adequately," Wilbur said. "Not having the proper equipment, supplies and materials hurts students. So the attacks on education hurt one group — students."
Michigan school districts already absorbed a $165-per-pupil cut in state funding in 2009-2010 . Many districts were expecting an even larger cut next year before a better than expected revenue estimate has funding remaining flat in 2010-2011.
Student Jonathon Warner, 18, of Homer High School, was one of four speakers at the rally. Because of budget cuts, Warner said, he feared his younger siblings would not have the same experience he did at Homer Community Schools.
"Students like me should get the education they need so that they can move on from high school and be a successful college student," Warner said. "How can we fix a budget problem in our state without educated citizens?"
Other speakers were local parent Cheryl McMeeking; state Rep. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek; and state Sen. Kate Segal, D-Battle Creek.
"We need to fund police, fire, sewer, water, roads and education," Nofs said. "The tax system we have right now is not equitable. We do have to look at the tax system we have in place."
To urge this process along, more than 10,000 people are expected to show up at a central MEA rally in Lansing on June 24, Wilbur said.