In Michigan
5:13 pm
Thu March 18, 2010

Senate poises budgets for votes next week

LANSING, MI – A state Senate panel has adopted a budget plan for schools that cuts per-pupil funding, but assumes big savings if thousands of veteran teachers accept a retirement offer.

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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a schools budget that cuts direct state funding by $118 per student. But the plan assumes school districts will save that much once the Legislature adopts Governor Granholm's plan to encourage thousands of public employees to accept retirement offers.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Jelinek says, "We expect it to happen. We hope it will happen, and if it doesn't happen we'll be back to make more cuts."

But the Senate Republican majority won't accept the governor's proposed sales tax on services to pay for schools. Democrats say in that case, the budget would be underfunded, and will force more cuts to schools next year. The Senate committee also adopted university and community college budgets with cuts that are contrary to the governor's budget plans.