House Republicans Pass Devastating Cuts to K-12, Higher Education

Republican budget plan puts Michigan's economic recovery, future at risk
Thursday, May 5, 2011

LANSING - House Democrats today lashed out against House Republicans for passing a destructive education budget plan that slashes $1.1 billion in K-12 funding and will devastate Michigan’s ability to prepare our children and students to compete for 21st century jobs. Under the plan, which now heads to the Senate, community colleges and state universities will be cut by about 15 percent and Michigan’s K-12 schools will see cuts of at least $426 per student with some school districts being hit with cuts as large as $1,558 per student.

“When the microphone is on Republicans can talk a good game, but when it’s crunch time it’s clear their priorities are not with our families or our schools,” said State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids). “Gutting education funding across the board will devastate our public schools, make college less affordable and sacrifice the future of our kids and our state all under the guise of saving money. Republicans have sent a clear message to hard-working families across the state - that your child’s education is not as important to giving tax breaks to massive corporation and their CEOs.”

The plan Republicans passed today cuts $1.1 billion from K-12 funding and slashes community colleges and state universities’ funding by about 15 percent. According to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency, if the budget for Fiscal Year 2012 was frozen at current spending levels - meaning no further cuts to school funding - there would be a surplus of $650 million in the School Aid Fund. Instead, House Republicans’ plan raids the School Aid Fund in order to give corporations a massive tax break.

“The plan proposed by the Governor and passed by House Republicans today completely contradicts the Governor’s pledge to ‘invest in education,’” said State Representative Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon). “Republican leaders are not giving our schools anywhere near the investment they deserve by making some of the biggest cuts to education in Michigan’s history. At a time when we should be preparing our students and workers to compete for the jobs of the future, this plan makes absolutely no sense. Our children are people, not numbers. They deserve better and Michigan deserves better.”

House Republicans passed these deep education cuts today despite clear opposition by tens of thousands of residents over the past few months who spoke out in support of our schools at town hall meetings and rallies across the state. In a recent survey, 53 percent of residents said education funding should be the last place lawmakers cut, according to Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.