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Urgent Call to Support the Continuation of Section 147 Allocations to Improve School District Funding and Reduce Financial Liabilities

Michigan Senators and House Representatives,  

I write to you today to actively support the proposal to maintain all Section 147 allocations in the upcoming FY 2024-2025 budget. This legislative action can profoundly improve DPSCD students' educational experiences and outcomes, ensuring that our students, staff, and community receive more support and resources. This will also better support all Michigan school districts.

For too long, the shadow of decisions made decades ago has loomed large over our K-12 educational systems. Risky financial decisions by past elected officials have resulted in a massive burden of unfunded liabilities and debts, adversely affecting the stability of the retirement and healthcare funds dedicated to  our hardworking educators. These burdens have unfairly fallen onto local school districts, necessitating that funds that should enhance classrooms and enrich student learning are diverted to cover the cost of educating previous generations of students.

With the healthcare portion of the retirement fund projected to be fully funded, Michigan has a historic opportunity to begin correcting these past mistakes without additional tax burdens on our citizens or cuts to other state programs. This action would free up additional school district funds that should be directed towards programs that directly contribute to student success. The benefits of this decision are multifaceted and enduring. It would alleviate financial pressures and foster a more stable K-12 environment where educational investments can be sustainable.  This is a chance to permanently improve the fiscal landscape of our schools and those throughout the state, thereby enhancing the quality of education that we can offer to every student.

Moreover, this decision would represent a commitment to maintaining the integrity and stability of the retirement system, ensuring that it continues to serve its purpose without imposing undue financial strain on future generations. We urge you to view this as not only a fiscal decision but also a moral imperative. The students in our schools today should not have to bear the consequences of past policy errors. They deserve a fully funded, vibrant educational experience—something that can only be ensured if we keep our tax dollars working in the classroom where they belong.

In conclusion, I ask that you vote to continue the full FY 23-24 Section 147 allocation and lower the payroll percentage the state requires school districts to return to the state to pay for legacy costs.  Doing so not only upholds a promise to our current students and educators but also sets a precedent for responsible and more equitable governance and K-12 public education funding.

Thank you for considering this transformational opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of Michigan and specifically Detroit students.


Nikolai P. Vitti