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Local Democrats Slam House Republican Education Funding Bill

Representatives say the state should restore nearly $1 billion cut last year from K-12 funding.

SOUTHFIELD — A group of Michigan House Democrats gathered Monday morning to level charges that Republican lawmakers and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder are leaving school children behind when it comes to funding education. 

During a press conference held at University Academy, a school for gifted and talented students on the Southfield High campus, lawmakers said the proposed budget continues a $470 per pupil funding cut currently in place.

What's more, they said, the omnibus legislation lacks transparency and makes it more difficult for citizens to see exactly how tax dollars are being allocated. 

In West Bloomfield, that amounts to a loss of just under $2 million under the Republican budget, according to FightSchoolCuts.com, which pulls its estimates from the House Fiscal Agency.

State Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods), minority vice chair with appropriations subcommittees on school aid and community colleges, said Republicans voted against multiple amendments that Democrats offered to restore school funding. 

"I think that it's an understatement to say that those of us that are here, and all of you, and parents all across the state are really in a state of outrage over what has happened over the past two years," she said.

The Republican-proposed budget puts Michigan's education funding below 2006 levels, State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) said. Even though financial incentives are proposed for districts that meet certain "best practices" bench marks, those dollars also come out of state funding that is meant for all K-12 schools, she added. 

According to Cogen Lipton, Republican lawmakers have said they created the list of best practices themselves, and Brown pointed out the benchmarks have more to do with budget and school management. "You really don't see students in the list of best practices," she said. 

State Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D-Lathrup Village) pointed to the FightSchoolCuts.com website as a place where citizens can go to get information about school funding and how to get involved. The interactive website offers a search feature that shows how much funding individual school districts stand to lose, based on House Fiscal Agency estimates, under the proposed Republican budget. 

Lawmakers said the omnibus education budget is currently in conference committee, so citizens still have time to contact their lawmakers about it. 

This is a developing story.

Kevin Russell May 08, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Since A Demo-Rat was voted out of office we have scene growth for the first in the State, The DemoRats are picking and attacking sides and if that same Demo-rat and the rest were still running the show we would be closing down cities and schools. Wrong Lazy Poli-Back-stabbers. Here is one, if the Poli-Rats want to help in budget, cut health care from the Millionaire DemoRats and REP-Puppies health care to ZERO... That should make up the difference.. NO Health Care for any POli-Rat making more then a Fireman or Police office at the lowest levels.. Because the DEmo's always ripe the Fire Fighters and Police. I heard those fakers take from the thee most important men and women funds. If you cannot cover those who usually don't make retirement then the Millionaire Levin's of world loss health Care. Loss Health care for Governor, Senate and Congress making more then 45K a Year. No coverage for Millionaire POli-Rats... Take that as a solution. If they show a Profit, when each Fireman and is covered for Life no Matter what... IF a Fireman losses Coverage for smoking then the Fat cats who smoke or are drug tested in Government loss coverage if the test positive just like or men and women. What we do to these people is the worst.... REp-Puppies and Demo-Rats are the problems. They suck money and health care cost out from people who need it.... Democrats point the fingers and cheat...
Chad May 08, 2012 at 02:04 PM
(sighs)

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