HANCOCK -- At noon this Saturday, May 14, at Veteran's Park in Houghton, parents, children and teachers and concerned citizens will unite in support of public education at the "Save Your School, Show Your Spirit" Rally. Come wearing your school colors and brimming with spirit to send a message to Lansing that we love our schools and demand local control.
As you are probably aware, recent Michigan legislation will have a big impact on how our local school districts are funded and run. Public education has taken a beating lately. The Michigan House recently voted to slash education spending to pay for an 86 percent corporate tax cut. Both Hancock and Ewen-Trout Schools are in danger of incurring Gov. Snyder's wrath, and consequently being taken over by an Emergency Financial Manager.
Michigan Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) supported these drastic cuts to local schools, choosing to plummet roughly 150 school districts into bankruptcy in order to fund a $1.8 billion business tax break. Calumet Public Schools alone will be facing a $1,249,868 slash in funding.
Senator Casperson also joined his caucus in supporting cuts to local communities. Houghton stands to lose up to $221,860.
Last week State Rep. Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) voted to pass a controversial budget bill that would slash funding for K-12 schools and higher education by nearly $800 million to pay for a $1.8 billion tax break for corporate special interests like insurance companies, oil companies and Wall Street banks.
Elise Matz of the Western UP Community Action Team, sponsors of the Rally, said the purpose of the event is to draw positive attention to the wonderful job local schools are doing to educate our kids.
"It's going to be a giant pep rally -- people in their school colors, school bands playing as loudly as possible, and ralliers carrying signs in support of education," Matz said. "Our message is simple and non-partisan: we want local control of our schools, and as voters we demand the final say over what happens in our districts. We want to draw attention to the wonderful job our districts are doing, and what we will lose if Lansing gets to decide how to run our districts. We want the rally to be as loud and exuberant as possible. Bring your children, friends and neighbors. If you're a student, wear your team or club uniform. Bring your artwork, instrument and trophies -- whatever school spirit means to you!"
Photo: Sign carried during April 4 Bridge for Unity Walk on Portage Lift Bridge. (Keweenaw Now file photo)