Michigan House votes to cut K-12 education by 3.5%, public universities by 22%

Blogging for Michigan is reporting that the Michigan House voted to cut spending on K-12 education by 3.5%, which is .4% less than what Governor Rick Snyder was looking for. The measure passed 57 to 53, with six Republicans choosing to vote with the Democrats, all of whom voted against the legislation. I was going to praise these courageous Republicans for taking a stand, but then I realized that party leaders allowed them to vote “no” on this one in order to save their seats come reelection time. Still, it’s good to see Republicans crossing the line. The six who did so were Hugh Crawford, Kurt Heise, Holly Hughes, Andrea LaFontaine, Pat Somerville, and Dale Zorn. This vote, according to Blogging for Michigan, would mean $218 less per student next year. (Snyder had asked for a $300 reduction per pupil.)

According to the Detroit Free Press, the budget passed in the House would also decrease state aid to Michigan’s public universities by a whopping 22%. And, guess what? That’s not all. They also tacked on an additional 5% cut for those universities extending domestic partner benefits to their employees. Here’s a clip:

…Added to the education bill was a provision that would penalize universities an additional 5% of their state aid if they allow health benefits for employees and a domestic partner or other adult who is not a spouse in the household.

The penalty was proposed by Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville, who said universities that currently allow benefits for same sex partners or unmarried opposite sex partners go against the state constitution and promote immoral behavior. Agema said the penalty on universities could add $60 million for K-12 schools. It’s not known how either Snyder or the Senate would react to the provision….

To add insult to injury, Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) said that the Democrats who opposed the legislation were guilty of underestimating Michigan’s teachers. “Let’s please give our educators a little more credit for creativity to be able to handle this,” said Pscholka… How’s that for doublespeak?

Just to remind everyone, at the same time this is happening, Governor Snyder is proposing a $1.7 billion cut in business taxes. And, as we’ve discussed here on other occasions, he’s calling for an increase in spending on corrections, in spite of Michigan’s dropping prison population.

This, I’m hoping, will be the undoing of the Republican party in Michigan. This is an incredible, mean-spirited overreach intended to break the public school system, and thereby the teacher’s union, and it’s not going to go unnoticed by the voters of Michigan whose kids attend public schools. As class sizes rise, and as friends and family members who are teachers lose their jobs, people will begin to see this for what it is. This is about weakening the working class and restricting their access to information. These are not the steps taken by a government that wants people to better themselves and achieve more than their parents did. This is about creating a permanent underclass to provide cheap labor.

update: According to the press release issued by Reps. Jeff Irwin and David Rutledge (copied below) the numbers above may be a bit off. Here’s what they have to say:

Budget plan puts Michigan’s economic recovery, future at risk

LANSING – State Representatives Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti) today blasted House Republicans for passing a destructive education budget plan that slashes $1.1 billion in K-12 funding and will devastate Michigan’s ability to prepare our children and students to compete for 21st century jobs. Under the plan, which now heads to the Senate, community colleges and state universities will be cut by about 15 percent and Michigan’s K-12 schools will see cuts of at least $426 per student with some school districts being hit with cuts as large as $1,558 per student.

“Republicans hastily approved a budget plan for Michigan that will mean huge cuts for schools and higher education,” Irwin said. “This comes just a day after they approved a budget that eliminates or drastically reduces programs like Meals on Wheels, clothing allowances for indigent children, libraries, medication for the mentally ill, economic development initiatives and job training programs. House Republicans passed these budgets, with those cuts and many more, while raising taxes on seniors, low-income workers, those investing in urban renewal or historic preservation and even people who give charitable contributions to food banks and homeless shelters. At a time when our citizens are calling for shared sacrifice, there is plenty of sacrifice, but precious little sharing.”

The plan Republicans passed today cuts $1.1 billion from K-12 funding and slashes community colleges and state universities’ funding by about 15 percent. According to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency, if the budget for Fiscal Year 2012 were frozen at current spending levels – meaning no further cuts to school funding – there would be a surplus of $650 million in the School Aid Fund. Instead, House Republicans’ plan raids the School Aid Fund in order to give corporations a massive tax break.

House Republicans passed these deep education cuts today despite clear opposition by tens of thousands of residents over the past few months who spoke out in support of our schools at town hall meetings and rallies across the state. In a recent survey, 53 percent of residents said education funding should be the last place lawmakers cut, according to Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

“This plan is unconscionable,” Rutledge said. “Michigan cannot afford to slash public education like this, without seriously compromising our future. Schools have been cut to the bone, and beyond, and communities are already feeling the effects. These deep cuts could devastate already struggling districts, and to make them at a time when the School Aid Fund is running a surplus is shameful.”

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  1. Brandon
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Just to be fair, Synder’s business tax cut would apply to small businesses, which would give them a more rational system than we have now, and recognize that small businesses are the engine that will create new jobs in Michigan. The era of large manufacturers is over.

    Secondly, Synder’s move to tax pension income touches the third rail of politics — seniors — and you’ve got to respect that. That’s pretty tough. But hey, as a 30 something, I support it. It’s only fair.

    And lastly, universities like U-M have been preparing for several years for a loss of 20 percent of their state appropriation. U-M knew that eventually, the shell games in Lansing would stop and somebody would have to face reality. Well, that day is here.

    It’s interesting that Mary Sue Coleman has not been critical of this cut — she just gave Synder all smiles and an honorary diploma the other day — because she knows that the day of reckoning for the state has to come.

  2. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    This proves what true Conservative have know all along that “tough nerd” is a oxymoron. That “Governor Snyder” failed to pass his mediocre reforms is a massive failure. Michigan deserved a bold LEADER like Scott Walker but Liberal subterfuge gave us a skinny weak spine copy of Engler. When the budget comes and Michigan Citizens Voters find that these “cuts” are not deep enough to lift the mantel of government of their backs then maybe our governor and legislature will find BACKBONE to stand up and fix this state. “Children are out future” well we WILL give the future a generation that is FREE because FREEDOM IS our childrens future.

  3. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    YES Brandon the “Gravy Train” for colleges is going to finally run aground but it is not “fair” to raise taxes on anyone. That is like saying that if you get robbed it is fair that your neighbor gets robbed. It seems to make sense unless you realize robbery is NEVER fair.

  4. James
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Hey Brandon, I can regurgitate everything that I read in the Michigan Daily too!!!

    You left out the part about the university passing the deficit in state aid on to the backs of the students in the form of increased tuition, making it more difficult for families to afford to educate their children.

    But you’re a (supposed) thirty something right and you’ve graduated so what do you care?

  5. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I hope you’re right Mark, about this being the undoing of the Republican party, but I don’t think it will be. Too many folks just don’t get it. They still think that they will be the rich ones one day, still think that unions are the biggest problem, still cling to their fear of poor (read: non-white people)…I hope you’re right, but I just don’t think so :(

    Btw, I heard something on the Wire the other day (I’ve heard it before but still)…what’s the most dangerous thing in America? A black man with a library card. I think we can safely substitute woman/non-white/union member into that, too.

  6. Erin
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    So we’ll have illiterate, poorly educated children who are unable to afford a college education even if they were prepared for it? Thank goodness we’re free of those pesky taxes!!

    Some things are worth paying for. It’s not robbery, it’s common sense – the right to an education is not something that should be determined by socioeconomic status.

  7. Glen S.
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, but see … this all O.K. Here’s why, from MSNBC.com:

    NEW YORK — In the boardroom, it’s as if the Great Recession never happened.

    CEOs at the nation’s largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007, when the economy was booming, the stock market set a record high and unemployment was roughly half what it is today.

    The typical pay package for the head of a company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 was $9 million in 2010, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data provided by Equilar, an executive compensation research firm. That was 24 percent higher than a year earlier, reversing two years of declines.

    Executives were showered with more pay of all types — salaries, bonuses, stock, options and perks. The biggest gains came in cash bonuses: Two-thirds of executives got a bigger one than they had in 2009, some more than three times as big …

  8. fleursmaintenant
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    i’d love to see Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville’s full list of ‘immoral behaviors.’

  9. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I just heard a Michigan Republican try to defend their education cut by saying “We’re only cutting a little over 3% of the education fund, and it’s increased by 14% over the last 10 years.”

    Well, that’s great, except inflation in that time has been rising, on average, 3.41% a year.

    I would be impressed if any republican or tea bagger can point to me instances where education cuts have lead directly to the creation of new jobs or attracting new residents. Because that’s what we need isn’t it?

  10. Bob
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    At the risk of regurgitating the same ideas from the previous thread, a lot of Dems don’t get it either. It’s hardly just Republicans, who are at least transparent in where they stand. It was Democrats who ultimately elected Rick Snyder. I think an awful lot of them vote against education funding in particular, thinking the tax they are saving is really going to make a drastic difference in their personal check book. My favorite are the retired people with grown, public-educated children, who no longer feel like supporting schools or programs that don’t directly benefit them. Keep the Medicare and Social Security check coming, but the hell with the school millage.

  11. Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    This is not only frustrating on a moral level, but on a personal one. My mother, who for years has been the only librarian at the Jackson city High School just got a pink slip due to these budget cuts. She has put in years or work and extra education to be underpaid and ultimately let go, but what she is most upset and worried about is how these students, in an already depressed city, are going to go on when we continue to devalue educating them again and again.

  12. Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    City of Detroit = more than 1/2 of population functionally illiterate.

  13. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Bob, along the same lines, people w/o kids do the same thing that the old folks with grown kids do. My husband & I are childfree by choice as are many of our friends. I do have a few friends who are adamantly opposed to paying for schools because they “don’t have kids who will use it”. They of course fail to understand the necessity of an educated populace. And yes, they are all (I think) Democrats.
    And yes, I supported education taxes even before I became a teacher.

  14. Bob
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Yep, I should have mentioned it. I can sort of understand childless people who resent the tax dollars for schools, though I think it’s nearly as idiotic. An educated population is certainly as worthy as good roads, fire dept, police. etc. Libertarians are almost as annoying as Republicans.

  15. Glen S.
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never had kids and don’t intend to, but I always vote to support public schools, community colleges, libraries, recreation, etc. — not because I think it is going to benefit me directly, but because I think it is the right thing to do.

    The way I see it, somebody paid so I could benefit from these things when I was younger — and now it is my turn to do the same for the next generation. That’s just part of being an adult, not to mention a member of my community, and of society.

  16. Edward
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t anyone outraged over the addition of the clause punishing state universities that offer benefits to domestic partners? I realize that it will likely be dropped at some point, but it really pisses me off. I can’t believe that anyone would vote for something like that. But, then again, I can’t believe a lot of what I see these days. I don’t believe that Snyder just cut higher education funding by 15% to 22% a few days after delivering the UM commencement address.

  17. Glen S.
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    So let me see if I understand this.

    We live in one of the least well-educated, and least economically and socially diverse states in the nation — so the way to “Reinvent Michigan” is to slash funds for education, and pass punitive measures aimed at making gays feel even LESS welcome here?

  18. gary
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I think the best way to re-invent Michigan is to adopt Snyder’s plan to slash funding for education because if Hoekstra or Cox were governor today they would slash funding even more. And everyone knows that Bernero never even had a shot at slashing funding in the first place.

  19. kjc
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t anyone outraged over the addition of the clause punishing state universities that offer benefits to domestic partners?”


  20. Edward
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    What if we pass a law that Snyder has to wear secondhand clothes and send his kid to public school? Can that be a ballot initiative?

  21. Erin
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m absolutely outraged – why should any employer’s choices about benefits coverage be dictated by public policy? How does this expenditure by a university affect the state’s budget? And why does anyone give a shit about who sleeps with whom on their own time?

  22. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Erin, the only people who get upset about who is laying who…isn’t getting laid or isn’t getting laid by the gender that they wish they were.

  23. Someone
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure punishing organizations for not choosing the ‘correct’ benefit policy is slightly against the idea of small government.

    Or have they actually been talking about small-mindedness all along?

  24. Glen S.
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    In addition to approving disastrous cuts to K-12 education and universities, yesterday the Michigan House also approved an additional 5 percent budget cut for any Michigan university that provides health insurance benefits to anyone other than an opposite-sex married spouse — potentially putting major institutions, such as the University of Michigan, in the position of having to choose whether to continue providing these benefits to their gay employees, or taking a significant (and additional) budget hit.

    Then, today, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that he was filing suit against the Michigan Civil Service Commission to block the extension of state-paid health insurance to domestic partners or other unrelated adults living with some state employees — a decision that Republicans failed to undo last month because they could not muster the 2/3 majority necessary to overturn the MCSC’s ruling.

    Of course, all of this comes amid the lingering after-effects of Michigan’s recent vote to ban on “Gay Marriage” — and the fact that, even though I am still (currently) able to obtain partner benefits from my employer under the guise of having an “other qualified adult,” I STILL end up paying an additional tax “penalty” on even that modest amount … courtesy of a federal law aimed at punishing employers which provide partner benefits.

    Ordinarily, I’d offer some witty observation or snarky comment … but I’m just too tired, and, frankly, sick to death of being reminded on a daily basis that I am a viewed as second-class citizen in this society.

  25. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    How much would you say it should cost to “educate” a classroom of 25 kids in a year?! $50,000? $100,000? $200,000? $500,000? $1,ooo,ooo?

    If you want to tax Citizens for education fine but Parents the TRUE educator in any childs life should be given the same rights and support as public and charter schools. If people home school they should receive the “state” per pupil funding and every homeschooler I know would be more than glad to meet and excede “benchmarks” for grade levels.

  26. Bob
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I want to home school all children so they know about Jesus’ dinosaur riding ability and don’t learn any of those pesky interpersonal communication skills.

  27. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    What world do you live in Boy-O? How many home-schoolers do you know? Most kids are lucky if mom and dad have time to help with homework, let alone be the primary educator. You’re basing your argument 1% of the population?

    I’m hoping that someone is currently preparing a legal challenge to the clearly discriminatory 5% clause. I mean, that’s not even thinly veiled discrimination.

    It really has gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? There was a time when public education was one of the points of pride in our nation. Passing legislation mandating schooling was a big deal. It was our first step into the future.

    Good public schools are vital not because so many parents care about their kids education, but because so many parents don’t. Public education was mandated to make sure all citizens had basic knowledge, to to fight crime and poverty. It was rooted in the idea that all American Citizens deserved an equal chance. How far we’ve fallen from that goal!

    We’ve given up on our educational system. We’ve allowed funding to be diluted by for-profit charter schools. We haven’t held teachers, and more importantly, administrators, accountable. We’ve dumbed it all down, started teaching to standardized tests, instead up buckling down and instituting the programs, creating the class sizes, hiring the number of people it takes. In short, we’ve done what ever was cheap and easy. This isn’t just a social failure, it’s an economic and national security failure. We have fallen so far behind in math and science that we will be lucky if we ever catch up, let alone remain an innovator to the world.

    I’m all for private schooling by the way. I went to Catholic school myself. But private schools should be just that: private. You want to try your hand at being an educator, that’s great, but leave tax money out of it. If religious schools don’t qualify, neither should corporate ones. That goes for home schoolers, too.

    There has never been a nation on Earth that has improved its social economic situation by cutting education. Ever. It works the other way around; you strengthen your primary education and create easy access to secondary education, and it helps to spur innovation and expansion. I highly doubt Michigan has developed a the magic formula to reverse that trend. Unless our lawmakers are counting on class size shrinking as people flee our state and its lousy education system.

  28. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Cato Institute says “Real spending per pupil ranges from a low of nearly $12,000 in the Phoenix area schools to a high of nearly $27,000 in the New York metro area.” That means if you have a class of 25 students you are spending $300,000 to $675,000 for one “school” year. There is NO WAY that is should cost a half a million dollars to “educate” one classroom. If you cannot look at those numbers and see HUGE waste I find it hard to believe!

    If you want to help parents spend more time educating their kids then CUT TAXES so Mom and Dad don’t have to work as much to pay for the state to tax over. State education is FOSTER EDUCATION.

  29. Brandon
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    @ James,

    Don’t be too quick to make assumptions.

    Actually, I’m a grad student at U of M right now. I’ve gone back to school to start a second career. So these cuts to education will mean higher tuition bills for me. Still, I understand the need to cut the state appropriation.

    The state appropriation pays for less than one quarter of the general fund costs already. U-M might have to forgo lesser raises for professors and its graduate student instructors, and cut other administrative costs.

  30. Peter Larson
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    This is bad. Personally, I see no reason why anyone would ever want to move to Michigan and even less reason why anyone would stay. Honestly, I’m already planning my exit. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  31. EOS
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Giving benefits to the unmarried partners of employees has substantially increased the costs to the Universities. As a result, employees out of pocket expenditures for health care are much higher and plans are underway to reduce other retirement benefits as well. There is no longer a promise that retirees will get any health benefits at all. U of M is reducing its proportion of health care costs from 93% to 75% for its employees and from 93% to 50% for their spouses. There are significantly more heterosexual partners effected by this proposed change than homosexual partners so I don’t get your discrimination claims. U of M can easily absorb a 22% cut by spending the interest on their endowment.

    K – 12 funding has increased substantially while student populations have decreased. The majority of families at my church home school their children. The students benefit greatly. They are smart, articulate, well read, and much better socialized as they are active in the community and interact socially to a much greater extent. They have no difficulty gaining admission to prestigious Universities due to their high standardized test scores and accomplishments.

  32. Maria
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Give me a break EOS.

  33. LaidOffTeacherPatti
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Have any of you ever worked with homeschooled kids? Holy shit…they are more than a notion. I know that there are some success stories, likely mostly in affluent areas with highly educated parents, but just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
    Btw, as you may not know, MI has some of the most lax homeschooling laws in the country…all someone has to do is say “I’m homeschooling my kids” and the truant office/schools/law can do nothing else. You don’t need to be a licensed teacher, don’t need to submit lesson plans or curriculum, don’t even need to have a clean criminal record…just say “I’m homeschooling”. You can even give a “diploma” when the kid is 18….

  34. Glen S.
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    @ EOS

    “Nice try,” trying to link U-M benefit cuts to unmarried partners but, frankly, you either need to actually know what you’re talking about before making such outrageous claims, or perhaps, stop trying so hard to mislead:

    Over the last decade or so, the U-M has steadily increased, in stages, the amount that faculty and staff pay toward the overall cost of their healthcare coverage — headed toward a goal (next year) of having a 30/70, employee/employer split. The primary reason has been to lower the U-M’s overall healthcare costs by encouraging employees to choose lower-cost plans and/or use covered services (prescriptions, office visits) more judiciously.

    The U-M also recently announced plans to modify retirement benefits for FUTURE employees, but again, this was mostly a reaction to A.) A rapidly aging employee/retiree population, and B.) The rapidly-escalating cost of providing health insurance for both employees and retirees.

    Neither of these things has anything to do with providing benefits for either unmarried straight partners (who could, if they wished, get married and receive these benefits anyway), or unmarried gay partners (who, in any case make up only a very small portion of this already small group.)

    (You might also be interested to know that, unlike married partners who receive benefits for their spouse — faculty and staff who receive benefits for their unmarried partners pay an additional, and significant federal tax “penalty” on the value of those benefits — complements of Republican legislators who wanted yet another way to punish tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who they nevertheless deem to be “second-class citizens.”)

    Regarding the U-M using endowment-interest income to make up for state funding shortfalls — yet again, you are either misinformed or trying to confuse the issue:

    Contrary to your assertion, the U-M “endowment” is not a giant pool of money which generates interest income the University can use for whatever purpose it wishes. Rather, it is a collection of literally thousands of individual funds, each of which are specifically (and legally) dedicated to a particular purpose, in accordance with the benefactors wishes, and stated intent. For example, the interest income from a $100,000 gift dedicated to student scholarships can ONLY be used to support student scholarships — not for construction, general operating expenses, or any other purpose.

  35. EOS
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


    You know exactly what I am talking about yet continue in your efforts to mislead. Health care for CURRENT EMPLOYEES who will retire after July of this year is being cut in increments every two years until it reaches the percentages I wrote about in my previous post. No one who is CURRENTLY EMPLOYED by the University has any guarantee of receiving ANY employer sponsored health benefit during retirement.

    Contrary to your post, the vast majority of the endowment is not specifically designated for any particular purpose.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about the possibility that U of M might consider cutting benefits for homosexual partners. They will likely accept the additional 5% cut in state aid and raise the tuition to cover the loss in funding. They have already shown that they are willing to vastly expand the pool of beneficiaries to include unmarried heterosexuals just to legally accommodate a few homosexuals.

  36. Glen S.
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    @ EOS

    If, as you suggest, this is all about the U-M trying to accommodate a “few homosexuals,” then what’s your point, anyway — other than to foster another red-herring issue meant to divide and conquer?

    Do you really think — with nearly 50,000 employees, and multi-billion dollar budget — the overall U-M financial state is going to be impacted to any substantial degree by providing benefits to a handful of its faculty and staff?

    Or, are you suggesting that “some” people — regardless of whether they do the same work, and are otherwise the same in every other regard — are not entitled to the same benefits as their colleagues?

    Instead of hiding behind the fig leaf of “budgets,” and “benefits,” why don’t you just come out and say what you really mean: There are certain groups of people whose lives you don’t approve of, and you have no problem advocating the use of state power of the state to “punish” them financially.

  37. Glen S.
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    @ EOS

    Furthermore, regarding your contention that the vast majority of the U-M budget is “not specifically designated for any particular purpose” — again, trust me, you really need to check your facts.

  38. Brandon
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about healthcare, but your statement about the endowment:

    “Contrary to your post, the vast majority of the endowment is not specifically designated for any particular purpose. ”

    Is totally, absolutely, completely bogus.

    The endowment is a collection of several thousand funds. Most people who give earmark the dollars for a specific purpose, like a scholarship with particular criteria, or to support a specific program or position.

    From the UM Website:
    “The endowment is actually a collection of about 7,000 separate endowments, each of which has been donated to provide support for specific purposes such as scholarships, educational programs or professorships. To ensure continuing support for future generations, the funds themselves are not spent but invested so that part of the annual payout can provide a steady flow of dollars each year. The endowment provides a margin of excellence for the University, but it does not replace the unrestricted funds coming from state support and student tuition dollars.”

  39. EOS
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


    U of M has an endowment of about $6.6 billion dollars (last June). Seventh highest for any University in the U.S. (both public and private) The funds are invested and have earned an average 6.2% return over the past 10 years. The University has a self-imposed 4.5% cap on spending from the endowment each year – so the funds are growing. Depending on the web site, 19 – 20% is designated for student financial aid and 25 – 27% is restricted for UM Health System. Not everyone has a specific purpose in mind when they donate and the University has a significant amount of discretion it uses to spend the other 53% each year.

    Those are the facts. There is a huge difference between an endowment and a budget. You should check the definitions.

    Thousands of unwed heterosexual partners are given benefits so that a couple hundred homosexuals can lay claim to being entitled to those same benefits. It is against State law to give just the “handful” of homosexual employees the benefits normally accrued by marriage.

    That it does not replace the unrestricted funds coming from state support and student tuition dollars does not mean that it could not replace them.

  40. Peter Larson
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Glen, you forget that EOS is a bigot.

  41. Brandon
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


    In a good year, the funds grow. In a bad year, UM loses money from the corpus, which it did a couple of years ago when the market tanked.

    You say: “Depending on the web site, 19 – 20% is designated for student financial aid and 25 – 27% is restricted for UM Health System. Not everyone has a specific purpose in mind when they donate and the University has a significant amount of discretion it uses to spend the other 53% each year.”

    This is just wrong. I don’t know where you get your info from, but it’s flat out wrong. Even if 20 percent is designated for financial aid, and 27 percent is designated for the health system, that doesn’t mean the rest can be spent however the U wants to.

    You’ve heard of endowed chairs, perhaps? Uh, yeah. Lots of endowed funds pay faculty salaries. Others pay for research. Others pay for student projects, student trips, events on campus, travel and hosting expenses of speakers and visiting scholars. The list goes on and on.

    Again, if you are interested in facts, then the facts are these: the income from most of the funds is restricted by the donor. To change it, you’d have to go back to all of the donors or their living relatives, or holder of their wills, and ask them to change it.

    How do you think that’d go?

    Not many donors want to give money to keep the lights on or clean the floors. That’s just reality.

  42. Glen S.
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    @ EOS

    “Thousands of unwed heterosexual partners are given benefits so that a couple hundred homosexuals can lay claim to being entitled to those same benefits. It is against State law to give just the “handful” of homosexual employees the benefits normally accrued by marriage.”

    Hey, here’s an idea! How about we just go ahead and legalize gay marriage? That way, the U-M can drop all the partners of unmarried faculty and staff (which would eliminate any double standard AND trim the university’s budget) — while also ensuring equality under the law for those same-sex couples who decide to marry.

    “Ta-Da!” Problem solved!

  43. EOS
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    That idea has already been soundly rejected by the majority in our State.

    The funds have lost money in some years, but they have also gained 25% in others. The average over the last 10 years of volatility has been 6.2% and the interest is compounded. The info I provided came from links to pages on the U of M web site. Even the 27% designated for the Health System could conceivably pay a portion of employee benefits. Chairs can certainly be endowed at the discretion of the University and not mandated by the donor.

    As you’ve already made clear, anyone who has a different point of view than you is a bigot – and you can’t tolerate diversity. So who’s the real bigot?

  44. Glen S.
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    @ EOS

    Nine nations and five U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) have now legalized same-sex marriage, as have numerous states, territories and cities in numerous countries. Many more countries, states and territories offer “civil unions,” which offer all (or nearly all) the same rights as marriage. The number of places, worldwide, that are moving in the direction of providing for either marriage or civil unions is not only increasing, but accelerating … and, for the first time ever, recent polls in the U.S. show a slim majority now support gay marriage.

    What people around the world seem to be discovering is that ensuring equal protection under the law by allowing adults to marry the consenting adult partner of their choice does nothing to undermine “traditional” marriage — but does a lot to expand the sphere of basic human dignity.

    Sorry to have to tell you this, EOS, but inexorable march of progress means that full marriage equality (yes, even here in Michigan) is almost certainly inevitable within most of our lifetime(s).

  45. EOS
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Marriage is a bond sanctioned by God. There is no dignity in rejecting God’s plan and it certainly won’t bring prosperity to a community. If Michigan ever endorses homosexual marriage, it won’t be progress. As it is, you have equal protection under the law as you are free to marry the woman of your choice, and you’re free not to if that is your choice. Basic human dignity is never conferred through the possession of a piece of paper.

  46. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    EOS is RIGHT. TRUE marriages are sanctioned by God! And the “state” has no right sanctioning any kind of marriage. Marriage is before God not before “government”. What “marriages” are “sanctioned” by the state is irrelevant. Benefits of employment SHOULD NOT be extended beyond the employed and their legitimate offspring.

    For example our Bible CLEARLY shows that people who are divorced and remarry are living in perpetual adultery. GOD does not sanction these “marriages”! GOD does not recognize them as anything other than fornication! “By the powers vested in me by the State of Michigan” is the biggest load of crap in every exchange of vows.,

    The “government” has NO right to “legitimize” a marriage. Only God can do that. The “government” CANNOT define marriage. The “government” has NO right give “benefits” to anyone other than its immediate employees.

  47. cmadler
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “And the “state” has no right sanctioning any kind of marriage. Marriage is before God not before “government”. What “marriages” are “sanctioned” by the state is irrelevant. Benefits of employment SHOULD NOT be extended beyond the employed and their legitimate offspring.”

    If employment benefits only go to “legitimate” offspring, doesn’t that require the state to sanction a marriage? Or are you suggesting that the state simply recognize any religious marriage (including same-sex, polygamy, etc.)?

    Also, it seems that you’re suggesting that a spouse shouldn’t inherit a retirement plan (even an employee-funded plan like a 401(k)) and that life insurance should only be paid to children (even if they’re minors?) but never a spouse?

  48. Andy C
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    God did not sign my marriage certificate because God does not exist. So pretty much me, and everyone else for that matter, is not actually married.

    Do you believe it’s only the christian god who can marry? Do you also consider atheists to not be married by law? Because that’s 15% of the U.S. population and growing. A lot of “the gays” believe in your god, maybe you should take who you can get.

  49. Andy1313
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow, sorry Mark, but EOS and Boy O are really “degrading” the CONVERSATION around “here”. JESUS will strike them down because they don’t know how to read the book he’s in. You know, the ONE about “loving” your “enemies” and all that. Luckily I’m not a “christian”, so I don’t have to be “nice” to bigoted DOUCHES.

    Oh, and “suggesting” Glen marry a “woman” is fucking “DUMB”.

  50. JakeH
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Yep, gays have the familial “freedoms” to marry only heterosexual spouces … just like so many in the middle east have the religious “freedoms” only to follow Islam …

    Sorry if I have a difficulty distorting concepts like freedom, liberty, equal protections, etc. as “do it my (EOS’s) way or get nothing, and suffer the punishments if you help others do it theirs.”

  51. EOS
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Glen is certainly not my enemy. I don’t even know the man. If I hated him and wished him harm, then I would join in with others to encourage him to alter the moral standards of our society and redefine sin as virtue. I would encourage him to pursue the desires of the flesh and live for the moment and ignore the eternal consequences. If I hated others then I wouldn’t care that societal endorsement of homosexuality might encourage many others to follow this destructive path. Or I might just remain silent, like many, and lead him to think that lack of an opposing view is affirmation.

    But the Book tells me to love my neighbors as myself. The Book tells me that God wants what is best for us and that His rules are for our benefit. And the book tells me not to hide the truth under a basket, but to shine the light from the hilltop, sharing the message with all people, nations, tribes, and tongues.

    God certainly exists. He created each one of us and left His imprint on our hearts. We have no need to search for human dignity beyond that.

  52. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Cmadler by “legitimate offspring” I just mean legal children however the States define it and the “state” as no right to authorize or fail to authorize any religious marriage same-sex, polygamy, whatever. Marriage is a religious rite not a state given right! As far as beneficeries that should be determined by a legal Will not the “states” edict on who is “married” and who is not.

    Marriage is a spiritual rite and religion should be FREE from state intrusion and definition. Individuals are free to enter a contract of any kind allowed under the law. I do NOT want the state to tell me what kind of marriages are “valid”! Do you? Only Catholic marriages are valid?!! Only Methodists marriages are valid?! The “state” will inevitably pervert marriage just look at “legal” marriages for divorcees as case in point.

  53. Matthew Kriner
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I just thought that it was worth reminding everyone of this today, as they take their kids back to school.

    Fuck the Republicans.

  54. charles broughton
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    As someone who grew up in Michigan and now lives on the other side of the world, it pains me to see my home state consciously making the decision to opt out of the 21st century.

3 Trackbacks

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