Legislature can’t agree on how schools can spend limited new monies

Budget season is in full bloom in the Legislature, with votes being held on budget bills moved by various appropriations committees. In most cases, those committees were stingier in their proposals than Gov. Snyder’s $48.2 billion proposed budget.

A budget must be in place by Sept. 30, but legislators plan on beating that deadline by having one in place by June 1.

While both the House and the Senate want to give more money to K-12 districts than the Governor does, they don't agree on how the money should be spent. Under the Senate proposal, richer districts would get $100 more per pupil and low-funded districts would get $200 more.

The House is allocating $248.5 million to cover a piece of each school district’s employee retirement costs.

Both fall far short of filling the $1 billion hole left by last year's school cuts, made to help pay for a $1.8 billion tax cut for corporate special interests.

The Governor and the Legislature agree that there should be a 3 percent increase in funding for community colleges and universities, but there is great disparity on what those institutions have to do to earn the money. There is $36 million in performance funding for higher education at stake.

House Republicans want the University of Michigan to disclose how many embryonic stem cell lines it has to get an extra $4.78 million in state aid. They want Michigan State University to stop requiring students to carry health insurance or lose $6.79 million in extra funding.

Democrats aren't supporting the requirements.