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Mich. Governor Seeks Major Rise in School Aid

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Lansing, Mich--Michigan schools came out winners in the $5.3-billon general-fund budget proposed on April 22 by Gov. James J. Blanchard.

The 1983-84 budget plan recommends boosting spending for local schools by $181 million, or 14.7 percent. When combined with local and federal aid, the state increase would mean a 7.4-percent increase in spending for every student. In Detroit, for example, it would mean an additional $160 per student in the next school year.

After several years of cutbacks and aid deferrals, education officials welcomed the budget plan.

"It's the first time since 1978 that the spending increase has been higher than the rate of inflation," said Phillip E. Runkel, state superintendent of schools. But, he warned, parents and teachers should not "expect instant magic. You have to expect it will take three to five years before things are built up again, academically."

$190 Million Slashed

Michigan public schools have seen their budgets slashed by more than $190 million over the past three years. In addition, state-aid payments were deferred for three months this year after Governor Blanchard took office.

The Governor's proposal serves only as a blueprint for the legislature, which has the final say on state spending. Mr. Blanchard, however, has so far had great success with state lawmakers, convincing them to approve a substantial income-tax hike in March.

Under his proposed budget, $1.4 billion--or 26 percent of the state budget--would be spent on education. A decade ago, 31 percent of Michigan's budget was spent on education.--Glen Macnow

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