LANSING (AP) – A Republican-controlled state House panel is expected this week to propose its changes to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s spending plan for public schools in the upcoming fiscal year.
The House Appropriations K-12 Subcommittee’s proposal is expected to agree with Granholm’s plan to give every school district at least $6,700 and as much as $11,000 per student for the upcoming school year, Chairman John Moolenaar (R-Midland) said yesterday.
“The top priority for us would be to ensure that the $6,700 foundation grant remains intact,” he said.
The subcommittee is expected to vote on the budget proposal today.
But Moolenaar said some subcommittee members had several concerns with Granholm’s proposal for the overall $12.4 billion school aid budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
The Democratic governor’s school aid budget includes reductions and revenue enhancements to offset a $365 million deficit anticipated if current spending levels continue in the upcoming fiscal year.
The subcommittee’s proposal may increase the flexibility of funding for at-risk students so schools can use the dollars for adult education and other programs cut in Granholm’s spending plan, Moolenaar said.
The governor reduced funding for adult education by $57.5 million, leaving $20 million, in an effort to restore the per-pupil grants to at least $6,700. The grants were cut earlier this year to resolve a $127 million shortfall in the current $12.7 billion school aid budget.
Granholm’s proposal includes $314.2 million for at-risk students.
Moolenaar also said some members of the subcommittee didn’t like Granholm’s proposal to replace $198.6 million in general fund dollars for the school aid budget with money from a revenue sharing reserve account.
The subcommittee chairman said he wants to continue setting aside the general fund dollars for the school aid budget in the upcoming fiscal year because it’s a stable source of funding.
However, Greg Bird, spokesman for the state’s budget office, said the governor wanted to end the general fund appropriation to the school aid budget because general fund revenue is very dependent on the economy.
“Taking away the general fund dollars will not put the school aid at the whim of our economy,” he said.