LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican leadership in the legislature have announced a tentative budget deal that includes more money for education and fewer concessions from state workers.

Snyder’s original budget plan called for a cut of $300 per pupil for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The deal announced Thursday would give districts back $100 per pupil to help pay employee retirement costs, plus another $100 per pupil if a district adopts what officials call “best financial practices.”

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“There are some strings attached. But they’re relatively low hoops,” Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

“Just about everybody, every school system, has a very reasonable chance of accomplishing these things,” he said.

The deal also includes a 15-percent cut in funding to higher education and 160-million dollars in state worker give-backs.

LISTEN: Tim Skubick talks with the Governor

Gov. Snyder, Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger emphasized that while much work remains, the setting of spending targets at this point in the year is a welcome change that will prevent the budget process from dragging into the fall.

“It’s a new day in Michigan,” Snyder said, in a statement. “We’re leaving gridlock and negativity in the past. Michigan has not been well served by the annual budget dramas that have taken government to the brink of shutdown. We will have a timely, balanced budget in place so that our municipal and school partners can accurately plan for the coming year, avoiding the chaos that too often has been foisted upon them due to Lansing’s inaction.”

Earlier, Thursday, following a speech before the women’s business association Inforum, Snyder spoke with reporters on the topic of state finances. More specifically, the $400 million budget surplus.

“I think we have an opportunity to use some of those funds to mitigate some of the cuts that we had to make in the budget, because those were tough decisions. And if we have some resources available to minimize them or make them less, we’re clearly looking to do that,” he said.

At the same time, I want to be fiscally responsible for the future, to make sure we’re reserving some dollars for rainy day (use) and for future liabilities,” Snyder said.

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Snyder said with money available, it’s expected there will be a lot of people calling dibs.  He said the key is to prioritize.

The legislature is expected to ratify the new spending plan next week and meet the governor’s self-imposed deadline of May 31st, four months before the end of the fiscal year.

“We’re on target to achieve or beat that (deadline), which I think is something that we should all be very happy about in the state,” Snyder said.

Plan Highlights Provided by the Governor’s Office:

”         An extra $310 million in funding for K-12 schools. Of that total, $150 million will be distributed on a per-pupil basis to districts that meet specified financial best practice measures as defined in the K-12 appropriations bill; and one-time funding of $160 million to help defray local school district costs related to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. This effectively reduces the per-pupil cut to less than $100.

”         Reducing the state employee concessions being sought from $180 million to $145 million.

”         $30 million in additional funding for local units of government, half of which goes to cities, villages and townships as part of the Economic Vitality Incentive grants, and the other half going for county revenue sharing.

”         $50 million added to the Michigan Strategic Fund for economic development activities, including brownfield redevelopment and historic preservation incentives.

”         Continuing a commitment to Michigan’s film industry with a $25 million appropriation, providing the ability to fund projects with the primary goal of creating jobs and supporting a sustainable film industry.

”         Prudently putting nearly $400 million in “savings accounts.” The balanced budget allows Michigan to pay down its long-term liabilities, making it possible to add $255 million the Budget Stabilization Fund and $133 million to a School Aid Fund reserve account for future retirement liabilities. This is in stark contrast to Michigan’s past behavior of overspending.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.