State House approves $16.2 billion for schools - WNEM TV 5

State House approves $16.2 billion for schools

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

For years schools have been complaining about a lack of funding, but it looks like they could soon see a big boost.

This week the Michigan House approved an education bill that would give $16.2 billion to Michigan school and public universities.

Administrators, like Freeland Superintendent Matt Cairy, said not all of that money will trickle down to K-12 schools.

"That $16 billion doesn't all go to public schools. It goes to community colleges, universities, so public schools are just getting a part of it," Cairy said.

K-12 schools would see an additional $60 to $120 per student. Public universities would see a 3.4 percent increase and private schools would get $1 million.

While school districts, like Freeland, would get an extra $120 per student,some said it's still not enough to cover costs.

"Our 1.6 percent increase is very difficult to make ends meet.

Midland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Sharrow appreciates the proposed funding increases. He said it's better than what his district has received the last couple of years.

"$60 per student for us is a nice change, so it's a good improvement," Sharrow said.

Sharrow said public school leaders are not sold on one controversial idea - using state budget money to fund cover mandated costs like fire drills at private schools.

"A million dollars, in the scheme of things, is a fairly small amount and they'll point to that, but it's really opened the door for private schools to get into public school funding. And I think that's an issue that needs to be looked at," Sharrow said.

Lawmakers hope to finalize the budget by early June.

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