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Superintendents push lawmakers to figure out K-12 education budget

kids raising their hands in a classroom
Nicole Honeywill / Unsplash
Michigan superintendents want Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, lawmakers to finalize K-12 education budget.

Thousands of Michigan schools are starting a new year under a cloud of uncertainty as they wait for state lawmakers to hammer out the final K-12 education budget. 

School districts have been waiting since the end of June to learn how much state funding they’ll get this year.

The Michigan Legislature adjourned for its summer break without approving the K-12 budget. That forced schools to delay a myriad of programming and personnel decisions.

Now, superintendents are pressuring lawmakers to finish the job.

Ken Gutman leads the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools in Oakland County. He says he has no idea what resources he has to support his 14-thousand students. 

“Will I have to lay people off?” he asked? “Will I have to look at using our fund balance, which is already precariously low? Will I have to delay hiring teachers or social workers or others for some of our most vulnerable students as well?”

Gutman supports a half-billion dollar plan by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to apply a “weighted” funding formula that spends more on special education, at risk and career and technical education students. Republican lawmakers have largely rejected that idea. They favor a much smaller spending increase.

The Legislature must finish the 2020 state budget by October 1.

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