Rep. Brinks Calls for Applying Unused Funds to K-12 Education

Michigan must use unspent dollars so kids can compete for 21st century jobs
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LANSING - State Representative Winnie Brinks (Grand Rapids) urged redirecting $94.9 million in unspent General Fund dollars from 2012 into the state’s School Aid Fund to offset cuts to education funding. Over the past two years, almost $2 billion has been diverted from school funding to pay for massive tax breaks that were supposed to spur job creation but haven’t created any jobs.

“Slashing school funding for corporate tax breaks hasn’t created jobs. All it’s done is make it harder for our kids to get the kind of education they need to prepare for the best jobs of the future,” Brinks said. “If Michigan’s kids are to have the future they deserve, they need a world-class education that will give them the skills they need to take high-paying jobs and enter good careers. Shortchanging their education sets them back.”

Since 2011, the Republicans’ massive school funding cuts have led to school building closures, thousands of teacher layoffs and overcrowded classrooms. In some places, busing has been curtailed to make up for the lost funds, while in other districts, teachers pay for school toilet paper out of their own pockets. The defunding of K-12 education leaves Michigan’s children unready to enter college or start careers after graduation, and makes Michigan a less competitive state to attract new business.

“It’s not fair to cheat our kids out of the education they deserve just so the state’s biggest corporations can get another tax break,” Brinks said. “We have an opportunity to restore some of that funding to our children, and that is what we must do.”