Skubick: Lawmakers approve education budget boost for students

Michigan

Lansing is still abuzz over the bipartisan deal reached Wednesday on the K-12 budget without the governor’s input.

Michigan schools would get $8,111 per student under a new K-12 budget approved by the House and Senate today, a 2.7 percent increase.  Democrats in the House voted for the plan but Democrats in the Senate did not.  

And with that in hand, a conference committee approved a bill that does not meet all of the governor’s demands.

Here’s what lawmakers are approving:

School Aid Budget

(1) $120-$240 Per Pupil

(2) $30 Million More Special Ed

(3) $5 Million At Risk Schools

(4) Closes Rich-Poor Gap

Regarding that spending gap, when voters approved Proposal A, the rich schools were getting about $10,000 more than the poorer districts.

Now the gap is $418 per pupil.

“You could make the argument that urban schools get special treatment, but I don’t think so.  I think we’re moving toward achieving equity,” Rep. Aaron Miller said. “We’re in a pretty good spot on equity because in a few years the minimum and maximum will be no more.”

The education lobby did not get everything it wanted, but it’s glad to have a state budget.

“It’s good to finally give our schools some news,” said education lobbyist Jennifer Smith. “There is some panicking out there over not having a state budget so now we have one so we’re happy to see them getting something done.”

However, the governor may veto parts of the K-12 budget which would send it back to lawmakers to find new numbers she favors.

State Senator Jim Stamas explains, “that is certainly possible but what we’ve done is put forward a budget that does set priorities for our schools and a foundation for our kids.”

If the governor does veto parts of the school budget, there is one other option.

The Republican House Speaker could try to override the veto but for that he would need 15 Democratic votes.  

Speaker Chatfield won’t confirm this but he has not ruled that out.

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