Yes, Making Students Pay for Road Repairs is Still a Bad Idea

Michigan’s House Republicans today rolled out a new plan to pay for the state’s road repairs, which, as it turns out, is the same as the plan they rolled out last year that diverts additional money away from public schools that are already facing a critical funding crisis.

“Educators have insisted it’s long past time to stop raiding the School Aid Fund to pay for other priorities. Instead, the House Leadership is rolling out their plan once again that creates a long-term & significant structural problem in Michigan’s public education finances,” said Mark Greathead, TCA President & Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools. “Lawmakers have repeatedly broken the promise to Michigan’s voters by diverting money out of the School Aid Fund. The only difference in this proposal is the money gets diverted out of the School Aid Fund before it even gets there instead of after. It’s not any less of a broken promise and only makes Michigan’s school funding crisis worse.”

The House plan would create a permanent change to how Michigan collects sales tax at gas pumps that would divert more than $600 million annually out of the School Aid Fund. While their budget utilizes one-time fixes to make up for the funding gap they’d be creating, there are no guarantees those fixes would exist beyond this year, putting funding for every school in Michigan into jeopardy in the years that would follow.

“The House’s budget plan is like cutting off one leg of a stool and propping it back up with some cheap glue and crossed fingers. It’s eventually going to fall apart, but they’re hoping it holds up long enough for someone else to take the blame when it does,” added Dr. Russell Pickell, Superintendent of Riverview Schools. “Governor Whitmer has the only plan on the table that would not only make the investments needed in our schools, but changes how the state spends that money to better meet the needs of our students. Educators remain proud supporters of her budget plan and will continue to push for its passage.”

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The K-12 Alliance is the leading advocate for policies that support a stronger public education system in Michigan

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