Governor’s Proposed Budget Calls for Increases in Education Funding

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Feb. 15, 2017

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder released his 2017-2018 budget recommendations to the Legislature. We were pleased to see that they included a $325 million investment in education. Specific highlights of the School Aid Fund line items include:

  • $50-100 per pupil increase to the foundation allowance though the 2x formula
  • An additional $50 per pupil for students in grades 9-12
  • $7 million for educator evaluation training and implementation
  • $150 million increase in at-risk funding, bringing it to $529 million
  • At-risk was also expanded to include free/reduced lunch, as well as bringing in hold-harmless districts
  • $7 million to support declining enrollment districts
  • $4.5 million for a statewide school drinking water program
  • $20 million for career and technology education upgrades
  • 20% reduction in per pupil foundation for cyberschools
  • An additional $3 million for literacy coaches, bringing this to $6 million
  • A reduction in the assumed rate of return on investments from 8 to 7.5% for MPSERS and an increase in state funding to offset the costs to local districts from this change
  • An increase of $130 million of School Aid Fund dollars for community colleges bringing the total to $395 million; funding for universities remained the same as last year at approximately $237 million

Full details about the School Aid Fund budget and overall state budget are available on the budget office website.

Many of MASB’s legislative priorities were reflected in this budget. Specifically, the 20% reduction to cyberschool foundations in an apparent acknowledgment that cyberschools do not have many of the same costs that traditional public schools or even public school academies have, including transportation, brick and mortar buildings and the upkeep of those buildings. The increase in funding for early literacy coaches and reinstating funding for the teacher and administrator evaluation law show a recognition of needed resources for local districts to implement the new laws.

While we remain concerned about the large share of higher education funds coming out of the SAF, this budget does contain many positive investments. It will now go to the House and Senate for consideration and expected changes. Hearings outlining the budget to the members of the Appropriations Committee begin this week. The Legislature has once again established a goal of completing its budget by the end of May. MASB will keep you updated as the budget process moves forward.

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