It’s becoming a tired drumbeat, but if you want to know what’s crippling traditional public schools, the answer is relatively simple: legacy costs.
How many times have we heard that before? Struggling cities, the automakers and many other entities all have the same refrain about the difficulty of managing expenses while paying the appropriate amount into their pension funds and keeping up with the promises they made in the past to cover retirees’ health expenses each year.
But the weight of the problem is now landing like a load of bricks on school districts. Because of the way their financing is structured, schools provide a very clear demonstration of the problem — and the way elected officials in Lansing are contributing to it.