Hundreds of education advocates rally for more money in budget | Michigan Radio

Hundreds of education advocates rally for more money in budget

Jun 18, 2019

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

“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.