News Story

Schools Prefer Fewer Democratic Dollars To More Republican Ones?

Higher praise for Whitmer’s smaller increase than for larger hike Snyder approved

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a state budget that would increase funding to K-12 schools by $523 million in 2019-20. The proposed increase falls more than $100 million short of the $633 million increase in K-12 funding approved by former Gov. Rick Snyder in 2017-18.

But reactions to Whitmer’s proposal from public school administrators, teachers union officials and interests that advocate for higher school spending are far more positive than they were for the larger increase in 2017-18.

Russell Pickell, Superintendent of Riverview Schools, said the following in an article posted online by the Tri-County Alliance, a lobbyist group funded by public school districts: “This budget is nothing short of a historic opportunity to reinvest in our schools and our students.”

Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart said the following in Crain’s Detroit Business: “If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and educators across the state have their way, the spectacular disinvestment in public schools over the last two decades will soon come to an end. ... The governor’s budget proposes an increase of half a billion dollars for public schools next year, the largest increase in nearly two decades.”

And American Federation of Teachers-Michigan President David Hecker said in Michigan Advance, “We applaud Gov. Whitmer for introducing a game-changing education budget.”

State spending on K-12 schools has increased every year since 2010-11. Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm was the last governor to sign a budget that cut school funding, according to Senate Fiscal Agency. That happened in 2008-09 and 2009-10, when Michigan was in the midst of the Great Recession.

When the Michigan school budget for 2019-20 year is approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, it will mark the 10th consecutive year that the amount of state taxpayer dollars spent on public schools will have increased from the previous year.