State Rep. Collene Lamonte sat down with area residents during a recent coffee at The Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague.
LANSING – State Representative Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) 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.
“As a former teacher in Muskegon, I saw every day the detrimental effects of education cuts on our kids,” Lamonte said. “Those irresponsible budget cuts are cheating our children out of a good education, plain and simple. In the long run, a good education system is Michigan’s best economic development strategy. These General Fund dollars should be put back into our classrooms now.”
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.
“Diverting money from education is a huge mistake, and it’s time to correct it,” Lamonte said.” Taking money from our kids leaves them less prepared to enter college or be able to start meaningful careers after graduation. Both of these circumstances make Michigan a less competitive state to attract new business and new jobs going forward.”