Michigan has shifted $4.5 billion from K-12 education funding to universities and community colleges since 2010. That’s according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy.
The funds have been appropriated from the School Aid Fund, established in 1955 as an amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The School Aid Fund is used exclusively to fund K-12 schools. Funds for post-secondary education, on the other hand, come from the General Fund.
The fund shifting started under Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration as a one-time appropriation of $208 million to plug a hole in the budget created by the Great Recession.
It was supposed to be paid back. The bill included language requiring funds to be repaid to the School Aid Fund to the General Fund between fiscal years 2011/12 and 2015/16.
But the legislature never paid it back. Instead, starting with his first budget in 2012, Governor Snyder removed language requiring the funds to be repaid and made the appropriation a regular part of the state budget. The state took $400 million from the School Aid Fund that year, and cut per pupil school funding by $470, and that same year, the legislature passed a $1.6 billion tax cut that was only partially covered by increased individual income taxes.
Peter Ruark is with the Michigan League for Public Policy. “There was a very large tax cut, $1.6 billion given to businesses the same year that we diverted money from public education. So we’re paying for those tax cuts with money that is meant for public education,” says Ruark. Aug 23, 2018 – Michigan Radio