“There are several areas in Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget recommendation that are worth highlighting. I appreciate the inclusion of increased funding for direct care workers within our mental health system. In addition, our students would likely benefit from some of the proposed changes to education funding, including an increase of $50 per pupil for high school students and the expansion of at-risk funding for students in all districts, which would include Farmington Public Schools for the first time. One-time funds for community colleges would help many adult learners finish their degrees, and our public universities would finally return to 2011 funding levels after taking a 15 percent cut that year. I am, however, concerned that a significant portion of higher education funding continues to come from the practice of transferring money away from our K-12 students. The long-term impact of transferring millions of dollars out of the School Aid Fund would impact our students for decades.

“One area of particular concern is Gov. Snyder’s infrastructure spending proposal. His own 21st Century Infrastructure Commission report stated we need $4 billion a year for infrastructure, but the budget only includes a $20 million down payment with no mention of where the rest of the funding would come from. We have seen the dire consequences of neglecting our infrastructure, and I hope that we see a more thought-out plan put forward by our governor. It’s not enough for us to say that schools, universities, infrastructure and mental health are priorities. We need to provide the resources so they can succeed.”