Snyder’s education budget good, not great, educators say

Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed $128 million increase for K-12 schools has been praised by state Superintendent Brian Whiston, but some local school districts still see room for improvement. Whiston “applauds” Snyder’s proposed budget, according to a news release from the  Department of Education. Snyder’s budget will continue to allocate extra money to the lowest-funded school districts to reduce the equity gap between those districts and wealthier ones. Snyder’s budget calls for the lowest funded districts to receive a $100 per pupil increase and the highest funded districts to receive a $50 per pupil increase — with an additional $50 for all high school students. Whiston said the additional money will be a relief to districts that have struggled with cuts for years.

Women’s advocates fear loss of federal anti-violence grants

Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal calls for spending more than $4 million in federal grants to fight gender violence, but some local nonprofits are worried the money will evaporate under the Trump administration. The Trump transition team is relying on the Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance” as a foundation for reducing federal spending. It includes cutting grants combating violence against women. “What we are hearing now from state organizations is we need to be more prepared to fight,” said Whitney Buffa, the program director for Women’s Information Service, Inc. (WISE) in Big Rapids. The organization offers a 24-hour emergency shelter and crisis hotline, as well as education and prevention classes for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families.

Debate looms over dividing state surplus

Capital News Service
LANSING – Tax cuts or a tax rebate? Pensions or a bailout for Detroit? While there isn’t a simple way to get lawmakers to agree about what to do with an expected $971 million surplus in state revenue, economists have a simple message:
Don’t get too excited. “The amount involved is quite small relative to the whole budget,” said Doug Roberts, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University. “It won’t have a major impact either way.