Education

Per-Pupil Aid Increase is First in Three Years

By Bess Keller — January 03, 2006 1 min read
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The following offers highlights of the final legislative action during 2005. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm

Democrat

Senate:
16 Democrats
22 Republicans


House:
52 Democrats
58 Republicans

Enrollment:
1.7 million

Lawmakers approved a K-12 education budget for fiscal 2006 that raises per-pupil aid for the first time in three years. The minimum grant was pegged at $6,875, an increase of 2.6 percent, or $175 over the $6,700 planned for each of the last three years, but twice whittled down in midyear.

The $15.7 billion education budget also raises spending on special education by $60 million, to $950 million, and maintains the line item for academically at-risk children at $314.2 million.

Legislators in the Republican-controlled House and Senate rejected a proposal by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm to add $50 in aid for each high school student.

“The overall picture looks brighter than it did a few years ago,” said Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Republican caucus in the state’s House of Representatives. While cautioning that the era of belt-tightening is not over, Mr. Brewer noted that at the end of the calendar year the school aid fund had a surplus of $55 million. Some of that is likely to go to a rainy day fund for state aid to schools.

In other business, legislators blocked a move by Gov. Granholm to drop postsecondary scholarship awards of $500 earned on the basis of state-test results in middle school. The money was paid out for the first time this fall.

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