U.P. Education Summit with Lawmakers

State lawmakers are still working to balance the 2011 Michigan budget.

They have until the end of the month to do it.

Local school officials want them to keep education funding a high priority.

School superintendents, and others, heard from U.P. candidates for state House and Senate seats today.

One major concern: the recent transfer of a $200 million surplus from the state school aid fund to the state general fund to relieve the deficit.

A school superintendent asked the incumbent lawmakers on hand how they voted and why.

State Reps Judy Nerat of Wallace and Steve Lindberg of Marquette say they voted for it even though neither of them liked the idea.

Nerat says the vote on the money transfer was the most difficult one she’s had to make in Lansing so far.

She says the alternatives were to either raise taxes or shut down the state government.

Nerat says she was absolutely not going to raise taxes under any circumstances.

And she added that even if the government were shut down the day the vote took place, it wouldn’t have raised enough money to balance the budget.

Lindberg says one thing bothers him about some of his colleagues in the House.

He says anyone who refuses to vote for any tax increases but also refuses to vote for any budget cuts can’t have it both ways.

The day also included smaller sessions where everyone could speak more personally with candidates who would represent their school districts.

This was the 14th year for the U.P. Education Legislative Summit.