Kids still enjoy the playground at Stocking Elementary School. The school in Grand Rapids was closed last year to save money. State Representative Roy Schmidt used the shuttered school as a backdrop while telling people Michigan’s fund for K-through-12 schools had a surplus this year.
“We had the money, it just got switched somewhere else.”
Some of the surplus money from the state’s school aide fund is being used for the first time to fund community colleges and public universities.
Democrats in the state house are again asking their Republican colleagues to restore funding to K-12 public school districts. Democratic state representatives are traveling throughout Michigan to bring attention to the issue.
The state will provide most K-12 school districts 2.2% less than last fiscal year.
State Representative Brandon Dillon says schools should have gotten more money this year, not less.
“We did not have to make these cuts this year and if we work together I think we can find a way to restore as many of them as possible and if we can’t, at least ensure that next year we do not go down the same road.”
Elizabeth Welch Lykins’ kids go to East Grand Rapids Public Schools. She says she’ gone to Lansing eight times to petition lawmakers to restore her district’s funding after years of cuts.
“We had to shrink, we didn’t have a choice. This year, we were finally all were breathing a sigh of relief cause we knew that we were actually going to get some funding restored for the first time in years. And instead we just were shocked when the governor came out with a proposal to raid the (school aide fund).”
Dillon and other Democratic lawmakers want to prevent that in the future.