GOP-led House OKs deep budget cuts for education

The state House today approved deep cuts for public education, slashing nearly $1 billion from K-12 schools statewide and 15 percent from community college and university budgets.

The House voted 57-53 for House Bill 4325 (see how your representative voted). Under the plan, K-12 districts will receive hundreds less in state aid per pupil for 2011-12 to pay for huge tax breaks for business.

While this vote is very disappointing, the budget battle isn't over. The House and Senate now must reconcile competing funding plans. We continue to work around the clock to try to stop the GOP-controlled Legislature from cutting vital education funding that helps students, but we need your help!

Even if you've already contacted your representative and senator, please place another call or send an e-mail. Tell your legislators that Michigan citizens believe education is the most important service to protect from state funding cuts and ask him/her to stand up for children by saying NO to big cuts.

Several House Democrats today pleaded to not cut education funding.

"Education is the last place Michigan should be cutting right now," said Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City.

Added Rep. Maureen Stapleton, D-Detroit: "It's hypocritical to say we care about our young people and we're going to make the decision we're going to today."

Republicans defended the education budget cuts and dismissed suggestions to wait until more financial information is available later this month about the health of state revenues, which some predict will be strong.

"Today is a day of decisiveness," said Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson.

The vote came a day after the House voted on another major budget bill to cut state funding for job training, mental health, and local governments. The plan raises taxes on individuals and slashes business taxes.