Michigan business, education leaders respond to Senate K-12 budget

LANSING — The following are statements from Michigan business and education leaders who serve on the School Finance Research Collaborative reacting to today’s Senate K-12 and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approval of a 2020 school budget plan.

Dr. Randy Liepa, Wayne RESA superintendent

“The state Senate’s K-12 budget represents a missed opportunity to begin fixing Michigan’s broken school funding approach and give all students the same opportunity to get a solid education and compete for jobs. I encourage lawmakers from both parties to support the School Finance Research Collaborative research, which makes clear that it’s time for a new approach that helps all students achieve and succeed.”

Doug Maibach, Barton Malow Enterprises chairman

“It’s time to close Michigan’s talent gap, and I encourage the Legislature to support Gov. Whitmer’s weighted funding approach that includes additional resources for Career and Technical Education programs that provide students with skills necessary to compete for in-demand jobs. The governor’s plan also provides additional resources to help prepare low-income and at-risk students for 21st century careers, providing all students the same opportunity to compete for good-paying jobs.”

Jim Stapleton, Detroit-area businessman

“Our state’s K-12 school funding approach is broken, and it’s hampering our state’s continued economic resurgence, as well as our children’s futures. Time has long since passed for this subject to be addressed and I urge legislators on both sides of the aisle to support Gov. Whitmer’s 2020 school aid budget. This is not a partisan or political issue. From Ishpeming to Detroit, the need for a fairer approach to this important topic could not be clearer.”

Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan CEO

“Michigan businesses rely on our public schools to provide students with the skills needed to fill jobs across the state, and I encourage the Legislature to support a weighted funding system that serves the needs of all students. Michigan needs a new, fairer school funding approach that helps prepare all students for success, including those bound for technical school, apprenticeships or jobs right after graduation.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded. — G.G.

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