House Votes to Use Education Money to Balance State's General Fund

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Michigan House took an initial step toward balancing the state's government budgets Wednesday, approving a bill that would shift $208 million from the state's school aid fund to help pay for other programs.
The Democratic-led House passed the measure to use part of the state's school aid surplus to help cover a general fund shortfall by a 57-47 vote, mostly along party lines. The measure now goes to the Republican-run Senate.
Senate Republican leaders have been generally supportive of the fund shift, proposed as part of the plan to eliminate shortfalls in the state's general fund covering a wide range of programs. It wasn't immediately clear if any specifics in the House plan might make the measure more difficult to pass in the Senate.
The proposal to shift funds picked up more support this month after it was learned Michigan is getting more than $300 million in unexpected additional federal schools aid.
Lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm are trying to erase a general fund deficit of $302 million this fiscal year and a shortfall of $484 million for the budget year that begins Oct. 1.
The surplus school aid money would be used to replace money from the general fund that goes to community colleges. That would free up money for other purposes, such as public safety programs.
The House also voted Wednesday to accept the extra schools money coming from the federal government. Democrats said the money could replace previous cuts made in the schools budget, with enough cash left over to increase funding by $17 to $34 per student.
Some House Republicans criticized the plan because it relies on what they called federal handouts and short-term fixes that won't do anything to fix Michigan's long-term budget problems.

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  • by sheri Location: jonesville on Aug 26, 2010 at 04:36 PM
    Once again the budget is being balanced on the backs of its school children and educators. What shameful decision making! When we complain to legislators, they tell us we don't know what we are talking about. So much for contacting them. They must believe that Michigan tax payers are ignorant. November is not far behind. Maybe new ones will listen to the public.
  • by local resident on Aug 26, 2010 at 01:34 PM
    Are you kidding me? The schools have been cut time and again. The legislature tried to get Race to the Top money, enacting new legislation that the schools must now implement, with no added funds. Now the state wants to balance the budget on the backs of the schools? When will the legislature take a cut in pay and funding? Why are we stripping our schools? If we do not invest in education and fund education, Michigan might as well close up shop.
  • by gary Location: charlotte on Aug 26, 2010 at 09:06 AM
    The Michigan Legislature just showed everyone in Michigan what a scam the politicians are doing with your tax money. There was adequate money in the budget k-12 to keep teachers working. The money in the school fund comes from a tax hike to pay for schools (K-12)and nothing else. Is it legal to use the fund for other purposes-NO. If transferred to the General Fund (slush fund)it can be used to support private enterprise (political pay offs) for money put into political coffers. If any votes for any rep or senator who holds office at the present time-your a fool. Thats why we need Rick Snyder for Governor not another politican.
  • by Doug Location: Montcalm County on Aug 26, 2010 at 07:37 AM
    Our so called political leaders have yet again placed out children at risk in the future. Now they will have less education and more bills to pay. Citizens of Michigan please wake up and contact your representatives to stop this action from happening. We all know that Jennifer is out and will take this money with her,the future is dim for our children.
  • by sue Location: jackson on Aug 25, 2010 at 10:11 PM
    All of the blame of funding problems within the public schools system has been placed on teachers now money is being moved out of the public school fund to other areas, is that the teachers' fault as well? People. place the education blame where the blame belongs and it's not with the teachers.
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