U.P. School Funding Numbers Increased

Lower-funded school districts across the Upper Peninsula will receive additional money from the state’s School Aid Fund as the Legislature continues to close the gap between the highest and lowest per-pupil foundation grants appropriated in Michigan, Rep. Ed McBroom announced.

The Michigan House completed all state budgets by the self-imposed June 1 deadline with approval today of the K-12 Education spending plan — four months before the actual due date.

“This is a good budget because not only does it provide more of a funding balance between school districts, it also helps the districts pay down the enormous debt liabilities of their employee health care and retirement costs,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “And it’s done early enough to give local schools time to prepare for next school year, rather than guessing for now and finding out four months later what their actual funding amounts will be.”

The approved budget increases the foundation allowance $120 per pupil for the schools receiving the lowest foundation grant. This is a funding increase for every school in the 108th House District, narrowing the gap between the lowest and highest funded school districts.

It also protects categorical funding for small class size and declining enrollment, maintains the same funding structure for teacher pensions as last year, provides performance grants for successful testing and graduation rates, and makes $50 million available for technology improvement grants.

In the higher education budget, the House approved a 3-percent increase for universities, including additional dollars for those showing restraint in tuition increases, as well as setting the groundwork to increase cooperation between community colleges and universities for credit transfers.

Overall, the state’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget of $48.2 billion includes a slight increase in spending but it is well below the rate of inflation. Highlights include $605 million to reduce long-term debt, $140 million for the state’s Rainy Day Fund, an additional $257 million for education and $90 million for individual tax relief.

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