To the Journal editor:
Marquette General Hospital has been a great resource for students in Marquette Area Public Schools. They have hosted Excellence in Education as well as allowed high school students in health occupation classes to job shadow.
With that said, there is confusion about the statement that their new taxes will strengthen our schools. Because of the way the state funds education, this new money will not affect our schools, students or staff. The state has a foundation allowance of $6,966 per student. That amount is shared between state and local monies.
What this means is that should MAPS receive more money from local sources the state would give the district less and the opposite is also true. If MAPS received less revenue from local sources then the state would give more money. We only receive $6,966 per student. In other words, new taxes will not strengthen our schools!
I would love to see MGH/Duke LifePoint partner with the schools. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. New this year is that Health Occupation students need to complete an urine drug screen ($85), a criminal background check ($35) which has always been done with ICHAT through the Michigan State Police at no cost as well as as a flu shot ($8 at the Health Department).
These are all good safety precautions but MAPS cannot pass these charges onto students. This is a cost of $128 per student. Usually there are 75-80 students. This year there will be 60 students. Sixty times $128 equals $7,680. $7,680 is a small potato in relationship to the budget, however, this extra cost was not budgeted and small potatoes soon add up to a bushel.
In the past, MGH has supported the health occupation classes with a yearly donation of $10,000. MAPS, I am sure, is grateful for that support! With the start of the 2011-12 school year, the district no longer receives this donation which helped to pay for transportation to various participating agencies associated with MGH as well as needed textbooks.
These costs became part of the MAPS budget. I recognize it is MGH's prerogative to make donations as they see fit. Has not MGH been a beneficiary of this class? How many of those 750 students over the past 10 years are currently employed in the health field with MGH?