Jones, Barrett seek to protect School Aid Fund, equalize per-pupil spending

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced two joint resolutions designed to protect school funding and equalize per-pupil funding throughout the state.

“This is about keeping our word to our schools and ensuring that all Michigan students are given the equal chance to learn,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I have been opposed to raiding the School Aid Fund ever since Governor Granholm first started shifting school aid dollars to colleges. Voters approved Proposal A with the expectation that the fund would be used solely to support our K-12 and special education schools, and that is what this reform would ensure.”

Senate Joint Resolution A would propose an amendment to the Michigan Constitution to remove “higher education” as one of the allowed uses of the state’s School Aid Fund.

SJR B would propose a constitutional amendment requiring that all local school districts receive the same amount of total state and local per-pupil revenue for school operating purposes by no later than the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Rep. Tom Barrett will be sponsoring similar measures in the House of Representatives.

“The students and teachers of Eaton County are expected to meet the same standards as everyone else, yet most of our local schools receive the minimum in per-pupil funding from the state,” said Barrett, R-Potterville. “Our kids are worth every bit as much as kids in any other part of Michigan. I look forward to working with Senator Jones to close the disparity gap between our highest- and lowest-funded school districts.”

Jones said, “The vast majority of Michigan schools receive the minimum per-pupil allowance, including every school district in Clinton and Shiawassee counties. It’s not fair that other schools in our state are receiving much higher per-pupil funding, and it needs to be fixed.”

Both of Jones’ resolutions have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. If approved by two-thirds of the Legislature, the proposals would be submitted to the voters for final approval.