Rep. Pamela Hornberger today voted in favor of a state House budget plan investing more than ever before in Michigan schools while reducing overall state spending.
The plan approved by the House would increase the budget supporting K-12 schools to $14.8 billion, with the largest annual per-student increase in 15 years – ranging from $120 to $240 per student. Workforce preparation, early literacy, support for academically at-risk students and school safety are top priorities.
More than a quarter of the House’s overall budget proposal goes to K-12 schools. Universities and community colleges also receive more money to prepare students for the future.
“As a life-long advocate for education, I enthusiastically support this plan to invest in our schools,” said Hornberger, who was a teacher and school board member prior to joining the state House. “We are providing more pathways to careers for our students. That is a key to economic opportunity and a better life.”
Highlights of the House plan for the budget year starting Oct. 1 include:
- Workforce development. More than $100 million is added to talent development and workforce preparation programs at the K-12 level, plus significant investments in other programs such as Going PRO. It’s part of the strategy to continue Michigan’s economic comeback, which has seen unemployment drop from 14.6 percent in June 2009 to 4.7 percent last month.
- School and campus safety. More than $25 million would be added to improve K-12 school security. The OK2SAY program also would be expanded. Provisions to raise standards for handling sexual assault complaints at universities also are included. Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, is the main sponsor of key bills involved in the school and campus safety efforts.
- Road repairs. Addressing an urgent need, the state will spend more on roads than ever before in its next budget as part of a multi-year effort. Hornberger said Michigan must focus on getting road money to where it is needed most and making repairs last longer.
- Savings for taxpayers. A prison would be closed, reflecting successful efforts to reduce Michigan’s inmate population. Budgets for several state departments would decline as state government becomes more efficient and eliminates waste.
House Bills 5578-9 advance to the Senate as work to finalize the next state budget continues.