Election Questions to Ask Before Heading to the Polls
Dr. Michael Rice Has Some Suggestions
By Dr. Michael Rice
With the November election right around the corner, lots of us have become interested in state candidates and their positions on issues. After all, voters will select the next governor, the next lieutenant governor, the next attorney general, the next secretary of state, all 110 state representatives, and all 38 state senators.
Here are the questions that will help me decide for whom I am going to vote in November.
(1) More than 80 percent of school district funding is controlled by the state. Per pupil state funding has declined by 20 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis in the last 12 years. Do you believe that the current state funding of Michigan public schools is adequate? If not, what will you do to correct the decline in inflation-adjusted state funding?
(2) In January, the School Finance Research Collaborative study indicated that Michigan public schools were not simply underfunded; they were unfairly funded. Specifically, the study noted that Michigan’s poor children, special needs children, and English language learners were substantially underfunded. Do you agree with this study’s conclusions? If so, what have you done and what will you do to create a new state school funding formula? If not, why not?
(3) In 2011, the state legislature cut $470 per student in state school aid. For KPS, this cut led to $6 million of cuts for the 2011-12 school year budget. If you were in the state legislature at the time, did you vote for a budget that included this cut?
(4) If you were elected or re-elected, would you vote for, or support, the right of citizens to carry guns in public schools? If so, under what conditions?
(5) Do you support the current state test M-STEP? If not, with what would you replace the test? Would you be supportive of replacing it with a more valid, more reliable national test?
(6) Did you vote for or support the transfer of state school aid funds to the state general fund by funding community colleges out of the state school aid fund?
(7) Did you vote for or support the expansion of cyber schools, funded at the same per pupil foundation allowance as traditional brick and mortar public and charter schools?
(8) In November 2018, there is a ballot proposal to create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to draw congressional and state legislative district lines. Are you supportive of this initiative?
(9) In 2015, did you vote for or support the state law — later overturned in a judicial challenge — that prohibited officials of school districts, city commissions, and county commissions from providing objective information within 60 days of an election to citizens about initiatives that the legislative bodies had voted to place on the ballot?
I encourage you to create your own lists of questions important to you and to solicit responses to these questions from candidates on your November ballot. I also strongly encourage all eligible voters to vote in November.