Gov. Snyder's proposed $50.9 billion budget plan to include 2-percent increase in public school funding



Gov. Rick Snyder presented a $50.9 billion budget plan for the 2014 fiscal year Thursday that includes a 2-percent increase in funding for public schools, universities and community colleges for the next school year.

Higher education funding was increased by 3 percent last year, but had been cut by 15 percent the year prior.

Snyder's budget, if acted upon, would require universities to hold tuition hikes to less than 4 percent, or they could lose part of their state aid. Lawmakers have implemented a similar tuition restraint in the current fiscal year budget.

The proposed budget could also control the amount of state aid each university receives through their ability to meet performance standards. These standards include graduation rates, the amount of research a school conducts and number of graduates in high-demand programs.

"Educating our children is a top priority for families in Michigan, and it should be a top priority in our state budget, as well," Snyder said in a post on michigan.gov. "That’s why I’m proposing an increase in state spending on education, from early childhood all the way through higher education."

Central Michigan University officials could not be reached to discuss how Snyder's proposal would impact the university, but comparable schools would see significant funding increases.

Western Michigan University would receive a 1.6-percent increase, around $97 million, which is about $1.5 million more than this year. Lake Superior State would receive the largest aid increase, at 5.1 percent, while Wayne State would see the smallest at 0.2 percent, according to an MLive article.

The K-12 schooling system could also undergo changes under the proposed budget.

Snyder has proposed doubling the enrollment of 4-year-olds in a public preschool program for students who are at risk of failing. The change to the Great Start Readiness Program would cost $130 million over two years and enrollment would rise from 32,000 to 46,000 state-wide.

In addition, K-12 districts that currently receive the minimum amount of aid would receive $34 more per student in the fall of 2014, with the minimum grant being raised $34 from $6,966 to $7,000. Wealthier school districts would not receive the extra aid, but would qualify for additional funding if they meet performance benchmarks.

"If we can have early intervention with these kids and get them prepared to start school, obviously, it will further their ability to excel in the K-12 system," State Budget Director John Nixon told the Associated Press.

Snyder's proposed budget would also hike taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel in order to raise $1.2 billion more annually to fix sate roads. The gasoline tax would be raised 33 cents per gallon.

The current gasoline tax is 19 cents per gallon and was last raised in 1997. The current diesel tax is 15 cents and has not been adjusted since 1984.


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