Dillon, Schmidt: Governor's 'Shared Sacrifice' Balances the Budget on the Backs of Our Kids

Lawmakers rally against raid of education funding that will hurt our children, schools
Monday, March 21, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS - With the Governor’s proposed budget slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from Michigan schools, State Representatives Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) and Roy Schmidt (D-Grand Rapids) today rallied in opposition to the deep cuts and called for the “shared sacrifice” the new administration promised. The lawmakers launched a website - www.fightschoolcuts.com - that shows how the proposed cuts will devastate our school districts across the state.

“This isn’t ‘shared sacrifice’ - this is an ‘Every Child Left Behind’ budget that will put Michigan’s kids at a tremendous disadvantage,” Dillon said. “As a father, I want nothing more than for my twin boys and their classmates to receive a world-class education that will prepare them to be the next generation of Michigan workers. These cuts, however, will leave them with crowded classrooms and outdated materials that will put them years behind workers from other states that they will be competing with. Rebuilding our economy will not be possible if we cannot create a world-class workforce. We need to rally around our schools and send the message that these cuts are unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.”

The Governor’s budget effectively cuts school funding by $715 per student, which will result in increased class sizes and outdated textbooks and technology in classrooms. The Governor’s budget raids the School Aid Fund by taking nearly $900 million from K-12 education and shifting it to pay for the Community Colleges and Higher Education budgets. This marks the first time since Proposal A passed that the School Aid Fund would be raided to fund universities.

The lawmakers’ website includes an interactive map where visitors can select their local school district or enter their ZIP code to see how many millions of dollars their schools will lose under Governor Snyder’s proposed budget. They are also encouraged to sign a petition in opposition of these cuts.

“The impact of these dangerous cuts to our schools will be felt for years to come,” Schmidt said. “Schools play an absolutely vital role in creating strong communities and building a talented, educated workforce, which are two key things businesses look for when they’re deciding where to set up shop. If we continue to slash funding our schools and our communities, we will hurt our kids’ future and it will make it even harder to bring new businesses to Michigan, create jobs for our workers and turn our economy around.”