Take a closer look at our education spending

A recent letter published on Feb 28 by a former educator and willing taxpayer Jim Shaffer seems to suggest we have a problem funding education in this state and nation. Perhaps the former educator might want to educate himself in the facts of the matter.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (as reported by Mackinac Center for Public Policy)” Michigan ranks 9th nationally in per-pupil spending on elementary and secondary education when per capita income is figured into the equation. That means after controlling for the varying levels of wealth among the 50 states, Michigan schools spend more on average than 41 other states, Michigan had $18.4 billion in revenue for K-12 in 2011 and also in 2011, increased per-pupil spending for the 6th consecutive year, which occurred while overall nationwide spending decreased.”

The state’s School Aid budget, which funds K-12 education, increased from $12.9 billion in 2012-13 to $13.4 billion in 2013-14. Federal dollars jumped from $1.701 billion last year to $1.764 billion in 2013-14.

However, student enrollment over the last year in public schools dropped from 1,536,600 students to 1,530,500. Schools are getting more money to educate fewer students.

Taxpayers have already given up a huge chunk of their income to taxes – we have mortgages and bills to pay too. While educators get automatic raises based on years of work and degrees those of us in the real world must prove we are doing our jobs everyday and are held accountable before there is a raise.

If Mr. Shaffer is a “willing taxpayer” I suggest he simply writes a bigger check when he files his taxes. If he gets a refund, send it back in. It’s always amusing when people like Mr. Shaffer seems quite generous with other people’s money.

Susanne Christensen