State Legislators Approve School Budget Bill

State legislators have approved a school aid budget that is now awaiting possible approval from the governor.

The Michigan House and Senate approved a $15.2-billion school budget bill, Thursday, increasing classroom allocation amounts by over $300-million and special education services by $30-million.

Republican Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township voted in favor of the budget, which passed the House by a 91-18 vote. She said, “We’re directing more money than ever to our local schools. This budget will directly benefit our students and teachers by pumping more resources into every classroom in Michigan. We’re also increasing our investments in skilled trades training, literacy coaches, and special ed.”

Representative Hank Vapuel of Fowlerville said he supports this budget because it “delivers far and beyond past what the governor called for, and does it without a tax increase.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a budget with a per-pupil funding increase maxed out at $180, a decrease in funding for cyber-schools, and more money for the Great Start Readiness program. The passed- House budget calls for an increase of $120-$240 per pupil and an extra $30-million for special education costs.

While it passed through the House with bi-partisan support, Senate Democrats weren’t so high on it. The budget passed the Senate 21-17, with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it. Releases from both Bollin and Vaupel call the bill the largest ever investment for Michigan schools in the state’s history. Senate Democrats argue that when the money is adjusted for inflation, K-12 schools will be getting roughly 25% less funding than they received 15 years ago.

The budget is now before Governor Whitmer for consideration. She can sign it, veto the whole budget, or line item veto portions. (MK)

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