Michigan teachers and support staff were out in force on the Capitol lawn “demanding” more state support and the governor was all in.
But some key Republicans are not going as high as the governor wants.
The march on the Capitol by teachers and others is timely in that the Republican legislature is debating how much to spend on the K-12 budget next year.
“It’s time to take Michigan from 50th to the top ten and its starts with $500 million in the state school aid fund,” Gov. Whitmer told the crowd.
The governor’s proposed increase is the biggest increase in years.
Thousand of protesters say they need more money and they are asking Republicans to give them more. But some Republicans are saying they can only give so much and they are doing the best they can.
“Everyone wants more,” insists state Sen. Wayne Schmidt. “I would like more. It’s up to the Michigan economy. We can’t ask Michigan families and taxpayers just to keep paying more if they don’t have it. The economy gets better, we’re putting more into education.”
The senators adds “we’re doing the best we can.”
But for some, that’s not good enough.
“It’s never enough,” said teacher Ann Russo of Holt. “The kids are struggling with things at home and coming to school. We need as much support as we can get.”
Teacher Mark Meyers from Walled Lake agrees. “I was making more ten years ago than I’m making today and I’m fed up with it.”
The governor is frustrated too.
“These teachers work hard,” explained Whitmer. “We have districts starting budgets in two weeks and there is no conclusion in the near future and we’re doing everyone a disservice by not staying here and getting the work done.”
She and key Republicans are about $200 million apart and Republican Rep. Aaron Miller says you could get to $500 million but “it would be painful depending on where you look in the budget. You’d have to cut somebody else and the thing about dollars is everyone wants to cut waste until it’s my waste and their people don’t want to cut that.”
The governor reports budget negotiations continue but demonstrators are hoping showing up at the Capitol will help her get more for them.
We should know by the end of the month if they’ll get more.