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Poll says Michigan voters want to increase K-12 per-pupil spending

Three-quarters of Michigan voters support a state school budget proposal that increases per-pupil funding and gives local schools more control over how they spend the money.

That's according to a recent poll commissioned by the group that came up with the proposal.

The Classroom & Kids Coalition is made up of educators, administrators, and local school boards.

Its proposal would increase the per-pupil grant by $250-$291 by cutting $186 million from other parts of the School Aid Fund. (Gov. Snyder's proposal would increase the per-pupil grant by $167.)

The two largest of the coalition's proposed cuts would be to incentive programs for schools the state considers high-performing and efficient. The next-largest would be to allocations to the reserve fund for the public school retirement system.

Robert Livernois is superintendent of Warren Consolidated Schools. "What I like most about the 'Classroom and Kids' plan is it will help us reduce class sizes, hire more teachers and staff, and protect those programs that many students and families cherish like sports and music – and all doing so without raising taxes," he said.

Vicki Markavitch, the superintendent of Oakland Schools, said local school leaders and parents are better prepared than state officials to make decisions about how to best spend school dollars. "We have to eliminate this one-size-fits-all thinking, because what Lansing directs to us are one-size-fits-all programs," she said.

Nearly three-quarters of those polled said school accountability should be driven at the local level.

–Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom