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Michigan Education Association
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MEA - Building Fully Capacity Locals - Introduction
A very special thank you to Arch Lewis, MEA Research consultant and Rosemary Carey, MEA Communications consultant.
A very special thank you to Arch Lewis
, MEA Research consultant and Rosemary Carey, MEA Communications consultant.
Arch Lewis, a research ...
Arch Lewis, a research analyst for the Michigan Education Association, makes a presentation on the Madison?School District's budget situation at a meeting Thursday.
Arch Lewis, a research analyst for the MEA, told teachers the district is not facing major financial problems, and that any problems that exist are the fault of the school board and administration.
"Madison does not have a deficit of resources.
Far from it," he
presentation by talking about the state's economy.
"Michigan, as you've probably figured out, has become the poster child for a weak economy," he
"That overall drumbeat that we hear ... it colors our whole thought process about how we think about money, how we think about finances."
"We just assume automatically that everyone's doing poorly because that's all we hear," he
argued that Madison has nearly $12,000 per student available to spend, and that over the last five years, revenues have exceeded expenditures by between $2.9 million and $3.9 million.
said teacher salaries have consistently represented only about 32 percent of available revenue, and that "if the district is experiencing financial difficulties ... it's not because teacher salaries are taking an ever-increasing portion of district revenues."
Teacher health insurance premiums are about 7 percent of available dollars, he
figures by saying he
looked at all the money that was available to be spent.
also criticized the district for spending general fund money on capital projects.
"What is critical is to show how tax dollars were used to deliver maximum educational impact," he
When districts want to build facilities, he
said, they should go to voters and ask for additional property tax levies.
"They need to choose between paint, in other words, capital projects out of the general fund, or kids," Lewis
showed a chart of Madison's general fund transfers to areas such as capital projects and athletics, saying, "every one of those areas, the money spent can be financed in other ways than taking it out of the general fund.
also suggested that the Madison school district
has failed to plan well. for example, he
said, staffing levels have not gone up and down each year in proportion to increases and declines in enrollment.
An exchange between Hartley and teachers over a 2007 millage vote turned heated, and a joke made by Lewis
at the beginning of his presentation was characterized by Hartley as "unprofessional, disrespectful and inflammatory."
When introducing himself to the audience, Lewis
joked that if they liked what he
had to say, his
name was Arch Lewis
, and if they disliked what he
name was Deb Griffith.
Related news in the region: Lewis
recently gave a similar presentation in the Ypsilanti school district.
Find AnnArbor.com's report here.