LANSING – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) hosted state representatives and senators, representatives of the Grand Rapids Public Schools and members of the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren at an Urban Education Tour event held at Burton Elementary School today. The tour focused on how the Grand Rapids Public Schools met unique challenges it faces as an urban school district, and shared strategies urban districts can utilize to improve their schools.

“It only makes sense to bring together people who work in Michigan’s urban school districts and elected officials who set state policy to discuss the problems and opportunities facing these districts,” Brinks said. “It’s my hope that from these discussions, these districts can develop a set of best practices that we, as elected officials, can support with sound policy.”

The event took place as Lansing legislators work to set the state’s upcoming budget. So far, proposed School Aid Fund budgets have been introduced to the House and Senate. The Senate proposal largely adheres to the governor’s budget proposal, but the House budget does not support the governor’s proposal, leaving the third-grade reading initiative unfunded and striking the proposed $100 million increase in funding for at-risk students.

“It is critically important that lawmakers understand the challenges that urban schools are facing as we sit down and come to a budget agreement,” Brinks said. “It is my hope that the event held today will be the basis for good decision-making in the future – both for the people in charge of leading our school agenda, and the legislators who set their budget.”