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MARQUETTE — Legislators have diverted $4.5 billion from K-12 schools over the past eight years, according to a new report recently released by the Lansing-based Michigan League for Public Policy.

This includes $637 million in lost K-12 funding for the 2017-2018 school year and a record high of nearly $1 billion for the 2018-2019 school year.

Noted in the report, “A Hard Habit to Break: The Raiding of K-12 Funds for Postsecondary Education,” the Michigan Legislature has diverted $4.5 billion from the School Aid Fund and K-12 schools to higher education since 2009.

Begun as a one-time “loan” under Gov. Jennifer Granholm during the Great Recession, the Snyder administration has made shifting SAF dollars away from kids and K-12 schools to community colleges and universities one of its primary budget tactics — a move the MLPP said is paying for significant tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy.

“Over the past eight years, the exception unfortunately became the rule, and using School Aid Fund dollars for higher education went from a last resort to the first order of business,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, in a prepared statement. “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. While this gimmick may be legal, it is morally and fiscally irresponsible, and lawmakers should put an end to the practice immediately and permanently.” Sep 18, 2018 – Marquette Mining Journal

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