The state House has approved one of the final pieces of the new state budget. It’s a combined spending plan for K-12 schools, universities, and community colleges. The measure did not pass without some heated debate.
The budget will require the University of Michigan to report annually on its embryonic stem cell research, and Michigan State University could lose out on money if it follows through on a plan to require every student to carry health insurance or buy it through MSU.
The deal will also require K-12 schools, public universities, and community colleges to meet performance measures to qualify for funding boosts.
“We have listened to our taxpayers, and they have said to us and we have heard, spend `our hard-earned dollars wisely,” says Republican Representative Earl Poleski.
The performance measures include graduation rates and cost-saving moves.
Democrats, including state Representative Fred Durhal, say the budget should have done more to help schools catch up after cuts that were made in recent years. He compared what the state spends per-student to what it spends on each prison inmate.
“I wish that we could take the $34,000 dollars a year that we use to house prisoners and put that money back on the front end of educating children,” he says.
Democrats also complain the budget continues to use money from the School Aid Fund intended for K-12 schools to pay for universities and community colleges.