As kids return to school this week, minority state lawmakers are calling for more money for Michigan's K-12 budget.
State House Democrats Tuesday introduced legislation to raise the state's minimum per-pupil funding from $50 to the original amount recommended by Governor Rick Snyder of $83.
Bill co-sponsor, Representative Sam Singh of East Lansing says with higher costs and rising inflation, to some school districts the $50 increase actually is a cut.
Earlier this summer, the state Legislature passed a School Aid budget that gave the lowest-funded Michigan districts up to $175-per-pupil increase in the Foundation Allowance, while higher-funded districts got $50 more per pupil. It also put more than $100 million into a fund to pay down MESPRS retirement debts for teacher pensions, which is collectively billions in the hole.
Singh says his proposal is to use $20 million of the pension debt retirement money for school operating budgets, in effect changing money from one school pocket to another. Local school districts remain responsible for their contracted teacher MESPRS retirement programs with or without the state government's help.