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Politics & Government

Mark Schauer calls education his “top priority” in schools plan

Jake Neher

The Democrat likely to challenge Gov. Rick Snyder in November says improving public schools would be his top priority in office.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown, unveiled their education plan Wednesday in Lansing.

“Education not only is our top policy priority - to build a strong economy, to rebuild a strong middle-class, to provide opportunity for every child in Michigan – but it will be our top budget priority as well,” said Schauer during a roundtable with reporters.

Among other things, his plan would:

  • Reverse what Schauer and Democrats claim to be a billion dollar cut to public schools under Gov. Snyder’s administration.
  • End the practice of using money from the state’s K-12 education fund, called the School Aid Fund, for things other than K-12 education.
  • Require charter schools and virtual schools to pay into Michigan’s teacher retirement system.
  • “Put the state on a path” to universal publicly funded preschool.

But Schauer did not offer specific numbers or details about how he would pay for his proposal.

“What he rolled out today is not a plan. It’s a campaign brochure,” said Snyder campaign spokesperson Emily Benavides.

“If education was truly a priority, they would have numbers on there and how they actually plan on implementing any sort of changes.”

Benavides claims Snyder has actually boosted state spending on public schools every year he’s been in office. That includes money that went to shore up the state's teacher retirement system, which the governor says allowed schools to put more money into the classroom.