LANSING — State Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) voted no this week on both the House School Aid Fund and the general omnibus budgets in a heated eight-hour session.
The proposed School Aid Fund budget, the portion of the budget addressing funding for K-12, community colleges and higher education, passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 2, by a vote of 60-47. In total, it cut $3.5 million in projected dollars to schools in the 28th House District when compared to the Governor’s recommended budget. When compared to the House Democratic budget proposal, it cut $8.1 million.
“It is short-sighted to call this budget a win for our schools, when we, as a legislative body, wasted an opportunity to really show our support for teachers and students in Michigan,” Green said. “Instead, this budget diverts state funds away from the classroom, allocating them toward cyber and private schools.”
Democrats offered several amendments to more closely align the budget with the priorities of the residents of Michigan. Amendments included language to prohibit education profiteering, restore water-testing funding, eliminate funding for private schools, as well as to restore various program funding levels to the governor’s recommendation.
“I am disappointed leadership would not entertain any Democratic amendments to ensure our state’s education system remains competitive,” said Green. “The budget as passed reflects a consistent, systemic underfunding of our public schools, a priority for the vast majority of families in Warren and Center Line. We have a responsibility to ensure our students, teachers and staff are given the tools they need to succeed.”
During the course of debate on the general budget, Democratic representatives offered numerous amendments to harness the un-allocated remaining funds of about $280 million and restore funding for crucial senior service programs, including support for direct care workers, adult services staffing and Meals on Wheels.
“In Macomb County alone, almost half a million home-delivered meals were served to seniors in fiscal year 2016. Our community is healthier because of these services,” said Green. “I understand the need to move the budget, but how far are we willing to go? I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice funding for public education or services that have a tangible impact on residents of Warren and Center Line. We can, and should, do better.”