LANSING — State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) voted for the fiscal year 2017-18 General Fund and School Aid Fund budgets on Tuesday because they offered increased funding for Grand Rapids schools and other spending important to Grand Rapids. Despite her support, Brinks said the bills were imperfect.
“These budgets did not include everything I would have liked to see, but I believe that the perfect should never be the enemy of the good,” Rep. Brinks said. “I was heartened to see that the new budget will increase funding for local K-12 schools and community colleges, improve infrastructure, and provide some help for dam removal downtown.”
The School Aid Fund budget will increase funding for Grand Rapids Public Schools by $3.7 million, including a $120 per-pupil foundation allowance increase, $777 per pupil for at-risk students and an additional estimated $25 per high school student. Grand Rapids Community College will see a 0.6 percent increase in funding, while Grand Valley State University’s funding will increase by 2.7 percent.
“I had hoped that we would have seen greater funding to mitigate underground toxic leaks in Grand Rapids through the vapor intrusion remediation program. The budget provides a $300,000 increase in statewide funding for the program, but not the $1.3 million that the Governor requested. It’s important that we address the pollution posing a health risk under our ground like the situation we have seen right here in Grand Rapids. Unfortunately that didn’t happen this year,” said Brinks.