LANSING, Mich. - Public schools would avoid most of a $127 per-pupil cut in December, but likely face deeper cuts in the future, if the state Legislature agrees to spend education stimulus dollars this year instead of next, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

The House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to use up to $184 million in stimulus funds to boost the current school aid budget by about $117 per pupil, MIRS reported. The previous plan was to save those stimulus dollars for 2011 to cushion an anticipated cut of up to $500 per pupil due to declining state tax revenues.

The House bill would remove the need for a $127 per-pupil proration that Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in October. Committee members reported out the bill on an 18-1-7 vote, with most Republicans abstaining, MIRS reported.

Some committee members still prefer the original plan to spread out stimulus spending and at least one said that the House should wait until January revenue estimates are available, according to MIRS.

In related news, an amendment by Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, to restore $51 million in funding to so-called "20j" schools was defeated handily, MIRS reported. The payments go to wealthier school districts that would otherwise lose revenue under Proposal A restrictions.

SOURCE:
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., "House Dives Into Stimulus to Ease School Cut," Nov. 4, 2009 (Subscription required)

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "10,000 Teacher Layoffs? Let's Try Zero Instead," Oct. 5, 2009

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