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House, Senate split on their budget plans and Snyder's proposed budget

Apr 03, 2015

In this last week before a two-week break, the budget took center stage in House and Senate subcommittees. At this point, there are some major differences between the two chambers that reflect pushback to Gov. Snyder's proposed budget.

The House has rejected funding for many of Gov. Snyder's education initiatives. Funding increases for at-risk students, a third-grade reading program, and support for financially distressed schools have been eliminated in the current House plan. The House budget doesn't include money for best practices and reduces the amount of money school districts get to help them with their share of Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) costs. The House also rejected the Governor's request for putting money into adult and bilingual education.

Instead of putting money aside for those programs, the House proposes giving more state aid to school districts and letting them spend the money as they see fit.  

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid proposed raising the minimum foundation allowance $299 per pupil to $7,551 and raising the maximum foundation allowance $137 to $8,236 using the "2X formula" which gives districts with a minimum per pupil foundation grant twice as much money as districts receiving the maximum per pupil foundation grant. That totals a $296 million increase over last year. Gov. Snyder proposed a minimum $75 increase for all schools with $100 million going to schools with a high population of low-income and low-academic achieving students. 

The House's proposed budget includes an increase in the reimbursement to school districts and vocational/technical centers for their career technical programs. Also seeing a possible increase are private schools. The House plan provides a $5 million reimbursement if they participate in state-mandated reporting on student health, student or building safety, accountability and education requirements as established in PA 252 of 2014. 

On the other hand, the Senate's education budget plan preserves more of Gov. Snyder's budget proposal. Funding for third grade reading, career and technical education, and at-risk schools remain intact. The Senate's budget supports Snyder's proposal to help out districts in financial distress, but it did cut the amount of funding. The plan also eliminated performance grant funding and reduced best practices funding.

The Senate followed the Governor's lead when it came to higher education and community college funding with a 2 percent increase for higher education, and $398 million for community colleges. Along with $122.7 from the General Fund, the total increase for community colleges is 8 percent. The House proposed a one percent increase for higher education. 

For K-12 school aid funding, instead of Snyder's proposed $75 per-pupil increase, the Senate calls for an increase between $50 and $100 per pupil using the "2X formula." Districts that would lose money from changes to best practice and performance grant funding would be getting money to make up for the loss.

In terms of funding increases, the Senate doubled the amount of money for a kindergarten literacy program and proposed a $29 million increase in adult education with the goal of promoting career tech education.

The Senate went along with the Department of Education budget, but it eliminated funding for teacher evaluations since there is no statewide evaluation system in place. 

Work on the budget is far from over. Both budget proposals have to move to their respective Appropriations Committee and then on to the full Senate and House for approval before a new budget is in place.