Michigan lawmaker warns of potential 25% cut in state school funds

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker warned Tuesday of a potential 25% cut in state funding for K-12 schools due to economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Wayne Schmidt, who chairs the Senate’s education budget subcommittee, said 25% is “certainly the high end,” but schools should brace for the worst in the next fiscal year — especially given uncertainty over whether federal rescue aid can be used to balance the budget as tax revenues plummet.

About 40% of the previously projected $14 billion in state revenues for the school aid fund comes from sales tax collections.

“There’s no way around it. There’s going to be cuts to the per-pupil foundation,” Schmidt said.

The base per-student grant for most districts is $8,111 in the current budget.

Nonpartisan legislative economists and top officials in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration will meet Friday to estimate revenues. The state budget office has projected a possible shortfall of up to $3 billion this fiscal year and up to $4 billion next budget year, which begins in October.

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