LANSING — The Budget for the State of Michigan has been a huge topic for all Michiganders with the budget deadline coming up at the beginning of October.
Although the official budget has not been set in stone, the House and Senate were able to pass a $15.2 billion School Aid Budget Bill. The House passed the measure on a 91-18 vote with all the Republicans and 34 Democrats voting for the budget and 18 Democrats opposing the bill. This budget bill will increase per-pupil allowance which will be $120 to $240.
There will also be $30 million more to reimburse schools for special education costs.
“So we in Michigan have a couple different things that we do with education,” explained State Representative Beau LaFave, (R) 108th District. “Part of what we have been doing over the last couple of years is decreasing the disparity between the funding between per-pupil in rich schools vs. not rich schools. So we have been doing what is called a ‘2X Formula,’ where the richest schools get, in this budget, $120 per-pupil increase. While those that don’t get as many per-pupils will get that twice of an increase of $240. This means that all of the schools in the 108th District will be getting the $240 per-pupils increase.”
The bill passed through the Senate on a 21-17 vote with all the Democrats and Republican Senator Tom Barrett, opposing the bill and the rest of the Republicans in support of it.
With a bill that is providing a large increase to funding education and special education costs it was surprising to some representatives on why the Senate Democrats were not in support of the bill. Although representative Beau LaFave believes that the Senate Democrats were not in agreement with this bill due to other reasons.
“Their public statement was it wasn’t enough, while their real reasoning is that the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t want to sign it without a .45 Cent Gas Tax increase. She is holding the school children and the teacher’s hostage for a massive tax increase.”
Some House Democrats, even ones that voted for the bill, do have doubts that it was the most efficient plan that it could have been. In a press release State Representative Sara Cambensy issued the following statement.
“Without a serious revenue discussion between the governor and House and Senate leadership this year, our K-12 education budget could be a whole lot better, but it also could be a whole lot worse. An additional $240 per student is a step in the right direction. But even with the increase, Michigan is still in the bottom half of school funding per state in the nation.”
“As a consumer, you get what you pay for. The same can be said about our schools. Without the means to invest in 21st-century learning opportunities and technology for future generations of Michiganders, our kids and grandkids will lose. Our long-term economic outlook depends on what the Legislature does today. We cannot keep underfunding our public schools and expect to have a competitive economy in our future.”
ABC 10 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.