Senate Passes Education Budget Bill

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

"The priorities were to increase the funding and increase the support for our children at every level," said Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw.

Senate Republicans say they achieved that. The education budget bill passed by both the House and Senate provides more money for students at all levels. K-12 schools will get a 3% funding boost, community colleges and universities will get 2% more and an extra $65 million will be dedicated to early childhood education.

"That's for four year olds to help make them ready for school," said Sen. Kahn.

The bill will now go to Gov. Snyder for his signature, though Senate Democrats opposed it saying the increase is not enough.

"They took $2 billion out of the school in the last two years. When you crunch the numbers, if you just look at a school like East Lansing where my kids go to school, this represents $5 per student in the classroom," said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing.

The Senate is expected to take up another omnibus bill next week that will cover the rest of the state's spendings. The House already passed it on Tuesday and left out the governor's push for Medicaid expansion.

"If we come up with a solution later in the year where we have Medicaid funding available in a higher quantity than we have today, we can always do a supplemental and add that into the budget later," said Ari Adler, spokesperson for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger.

While that's not on their agenda now the budget passed by the House does include increased funding for public safety, roads and local revenue sharing and now it's up to the Senate to give it a greenlight before sending it off to the governor.

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