Michigan’s Lawmakers Can’t Figure Out How to Fund Road Repairs so Look to Force Schools to Pay For Them Instead

LANSING — In the most direct attack on Michigan’s public education system during this chaotic lame duck session, lawmakers are now moving forward with a plan that would redirect over $170 million from the School Aid Fund (SAF) to pay for road repairs. The move is a clear signal that lawmakers have given up on finding real, long-term solutions to fix Michigan’s roads and are instead trying to force schools across Michigan to foot the bill for them.

“Every superintendent in Michigan has been forced to work within the ‘do more with less’ model of school administration over the last many years, but I certainly doubt any of us expected to be told we now have to pay to fix Michigan’s roads at the expense of our classrooms as well,” said TCA Vice-President & Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools Mark Greathead. “This proposal would get laughed out of any economics classroom, yet it’s being seriously debated as a plan to move our state forward. It’s absurd and must be stopped.”

HB 4991 has had language substituted into it this afternoon that would significantly alter how Michigan’s income tax refunds are paid out, shifting hundreds of millions of dollars of that money currently coming from the General Fund to the School Aid Fund, depriving Michigan schools of further resources. Michigan legislators are using the shift as an effort to claim they are doing something to fix Michigan’s roads when the reality is this plan would simply hand the bill for doing so over to every school, teacher and student to pay for it.

“There are a lot of bad ideas generated during any lame duck session, but paying for road repairs out of money intended for our classrooms may be one of the worst I’ve heard,” added Greathead. “Educators, parents & business leaders have come together this year in agreement that we need to reinvest in our public schools, and instead our lawmakers are divesting from them further. I can’t even begin to describe how damaging this plan would be for schools across Michigan.”