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Lawmakers Compromise On School Funding Cuts

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Cuts to the state’s public schools may not be as deep as originally thought. A developing proposal would ease the projected cuts to K-12 schools, according to Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

Additional cuts effectively could be reduced or offset to $100 per student for some districts, compared to the $300 per student additional cut recommended under Gov. Rick Snyder’s original budget proposal earlier this year.

However, Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says this deal does come with some strings attached.  Skubick said some “best practices” will have to be adopted, including cutting back on school employee insurance.

Republican Senator David Hildenbrand told Skubick he’s on board.

“I would support investing more in our public schools, absolutely, but we also have to help them control their costs.  And we’re working on some reforms, in helping school districts control their costs as well. I think that it has to be a partnership, between investing in them and helping them control their costs,” Hildenbrand said.

Education spending continues to be one of the most hotly contested areas of Michigan’s next spending plan. Democrats, who are in the minority in both the House and Senate, have pushed for cuts to be lessened in hopes of avoiding some layoffs and program cuts in schools.

Doug Pratt of the  Michigan Education Association is critical of this latest move.

“Their votes to slash business taxes while they cut education and raise taxes on Seniors and the working poor, Republican leaders today continued to rob public employees,” Pratt said.

These new developments in Lansing come after an unanticipated $500 million surplus was discovered in the state treasury.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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