Education, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder — May 10, 2013 at 7:18 am

Day 4: Buena Vista schools still closed due to lack of funds. Why hasn’t Governor Snyder acted?


Just not raining hard enough in Buena Vista Township, I guess…

This is front page of the Buena Vista School District website this morning. While it says that school will be closed on Thursday, apparently nobody has been to work yet today, either, because the school is still closed today. This is the fourth day the school has been closed because it has no money to pay teachers and staff.

This is truly outrageous. Where is Governor Snyder in all of this? Why is he waiting and allowing this to go on?

It’s gotten so bad the Congressman Dan Kildee has weighed in (and not subtly):

Gov. Snyder can – and should – immediately act to keep these kids in their classrooms for the remainder of the school year. It is fundamentally important that these kids go back to the same classrooms with the same teachers who have been guiding them through their curriculum all year long. Children in Buena Vista have a constitutional right to an education and the state must act to provide it to them.

Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature have previously acted to provide financial assistance for financially challenged school districts. H.R. 4445, passed in February 2012 by the legislature and signed by Gov. Snyder, provided $4 million in emergency appropriations to the Highland Park School District after it announced that it could no longer meet its payroll. The bill allowed those students and teachers to remain in their school facilities. After signing the legislation, Gov. Snyder called it a way to “address the critical education needs of Highland Park students” and a way to “keep…children in the classroom, where they deserve and need to be.”

As in the case with Highland Park, Gov. Snyder has the authority to promptly provide funds to keep schools operating through the end of the school year. Immediate action is necessary. The longer Gov. Snyder waits to act, the more the children of Buena Vista will continue to be set back through no fault of their own.”

Yesterday, in an open letter, Congressman Kildee called on Gov. Rick Snyder to act to ensure the Buena Vista Schools reopen.

Article VIII, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution requires that the state provide free public elementary and secondary education to Michigan students, stating “the legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law.”

In other words, do your damn job, Governor. One wonders if you would be acting this slowly if the private school your kids attend with its nearly $20,000 annual tuition bill were closed due to lack of money. As the newly flush Rainy Day Fund sits there like some sort of prized Republican possession to brag about, it’s raining like Hell in Buena Vista.

Do your job, Governor, and fix this.

Adding…Buena Vista isn’t the only school that is out of money. Pontiac schools are broke, too. Also, I’m not the only one looking at the $400 million in the Rainy Day Fund and asking what the hell these “leaders” are doing. So is State Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes from Saginaw.

UPDATE: Governor Snyder is declining to intervene:

Snyder said Thursday he hopes to quickly resolve the financial crisis that caused the small Saginaw County system to lay off employees and close its doors. But the rainy day fund won’t be used to bailout Buena Vista schools, Snyder said, because “that’s not what the rainy day fund is really intended for.” {…}

Snyder said the lengthy process for installing an emergency manager in Buena Vista schools makes state intervention impractical for keeping the district running through the end of the school year.