MEA President: Increases are a step in the right direction
EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s presentation of the governor’s budget:
“We’re glad to see the governor make a commitment to increasing funding for students in K-12 and higher education next year, but we remain concerned about the chronic underfunding of public education, as evidenced by the state’s school funding study last year. The small increase ranging from $50-$100 per K-12 student is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to ensure we meet the high standards laid out by Lansing lawmakers for Michigan students and educators.
“While attention has been focused on the governor’s proposal for an extra $50 per high school student to address higher costs at those grade levels, other areas also are getting much needed investment. Funding for at-risk students would see a much needed boost of $150 million. Another $33 million would go to funding legislation passed last term to ensure students are reading at grade level by third grade. More needs to be done on that front for smaller class sizes, literacy coaches, professional development and other resources that are critical to that effort.
“We’re very glad to see Gov. Snyder isn’t including any new efforts to raid the School Aid Fund in this budget. However, we will remain vigilant against any efforts to siphon off money intended for schools to pay for other political priorities, such as infrastructure improvements. Using shell games to free up General Fund dollars – as was done several years ago by moving the community college and university budgets into the School Aid Fund – needs to come to an end. Tax dollars meant for educating K-12 students need to remain focused on that task.”