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Hundreds of education advocates rally for more money in budget

Over one thousand protesters gathered on the Capitol lawn Tuesday.
Cheyna Roth
/
Michigan Radio
Over one thousand protesters gathered on the Capitol lawn Tuesday.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan’s education advocates need to put pressure on state lawmakers. That’s in order to make sure schools are properly funded.

Whitmer joined more than one thousand education advocates that were protesting on the Capitol lawn Tuesday. The state school aid budget is still being worked out by lawmakers in the state Legislature. But protesters at the Capitol want to make sure that the final product has enough money for K-12 schools.

Donna Jackson is the president of a Detroit union that represents paraprofessionals, or school staff. She says she wants the Legislature to adopt Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s spending plan. It calls for more than what the GOP-controlled legislature is proposing.

Protesters want the Legislature to adopt Gov. Whitmer's proposed school budget.
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio
/
Michigan Radio
Protesters want the Legislature to adopt Gov. Whitmer's proposed school budget.

“I just want to see more of our work being supported through funding and training so that we can provide the quality service to the students,” Jackson said.

Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse) worked on the Senate’s version of the school aid budget.

“The end of the day, the governor would like to see more money for education, Senate Republicans would like to see more money for education," says Schmidt. "That’s where we agree and that’s what we’re doing.”

Whitmer’s proposed school aid budget would put an extra half billion dollars toward Michigan schools. Republicans in the state Legislature have been working on budgets that put more money toward schools – but not as much as Whitmer’s plan.

“No more false choices," Whitmer told protesters. "It is not one or the other and we will not shortchange our kids’ education to fill potholes in this state. We will do both.”

Republicans have been trying to work out a state budget that would bring in enough money to fix Michigan’s roads without Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent fuel tax increase.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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