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House Budget Spends on Private Schools Without increasing Higher Ed Funding

Apr 29, 2016

Lawmakers in the House passed their version of an education budget for next year that includes money for private schools and an earmark to purchase software that would be used to evaluate teachers.

Budget negotiations are expected to continue through late spring to bridge differences between the House, Senate, and Gov. Rick Snyder. The core of the House education budget calls for an increase for K-12 ranging from $120 per pupil for districts at the lowest foundation allowance to a $60 increase for those at the top.A Senate budget has not been passed yet.

In House budget voting this week, a majority of Democrats unsuccessfully opposed an item to give $1 million to private schools as reimbursement for the costs of complying with state mandates.

"You have blatantly broken the constitution by putting money into this to fund private schools," said House Minority Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).

Meanwhile, the House budget failed to increase higher education funding to levels sought by Gov. Snyder in his budget recommendation. Snyder would like to restore funding levels for colleges and universities that were in place before 2011 cuts.

At the same time, the Republican House majority continues to fully fund cyber charter schools at the full foundation allowance - despite their large student-teacher ratios, lack of facilities, and poor record of educating students.