House Dems: Snyder'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

LANSING - With the Governor’s proposed budget slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from Michigan schools, House Democrats 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.

“We can’t keep cutting our children’s education - the stakes are just too high,” said Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township). “Education is vital to creating jobs and growing our economy. Michigan needs businesses that create jobs, and those businesses need a highly educated workforce. This budget jeopardizes our schools’ ability to deliver the top-notch workforce we need to put people back on the job.”

The House Democrats’ website includes an interactive map where visitors can find their local school districts by entering 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.

“This isn’t ‘shared sacrifice’ - this is an ‘Every Child Left Behind’ budget that will put Michigan’s kids at a tremendous disadvantage,” said State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids). “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 These cuts, however, will leave them with crowded classrooms and outdated materials that will put them years behind workers from other states that they will be competing with.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Governor’s budget effectively cuts school funding by $715 per student, which will result in increased class sizes and outdated textbooks and technology in classrooms.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.

“Education is the ultimate economic development tool,” said State Representative Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek). “We can’t sit idly by while state government destroys our children’s opportunity to get the education they need. Everyone should take a long, hard look at how these cuts will devastate our schools. The Governor’s budget slashes education funding and people need to understand the drastic implications. We’re inviting the residents of Michigan to stand up for the children of Michigan and join our fight against these cuts.”