Opinion: Budget makes smart investments in Michigan schools

By Pamela Hornberger
Building a better future for our state requires smart, sensible investments in education to prepare our children and grandchildren for success, the author writes.

Ultimately, Michigan can’t succeed without healthy schools. Building a better future for our state requires smart, sensible investments in education to prepare our children and grandchildren for success.

As a former teacher now serving in the Michigan House, I’m proud to say the $14.8 billion K-12 school budget the Legislature adopted last week is the largest investment in Michigan history — encompassing more than a quarter of our total budget. We are adding to our record investments in K-12 education with an additional $120 to $240 in funding per student — the largest increase in 15 years.

But it’s not just about the money. By investing in smarter ways, we’re creating more opportunities for students to learn and succeed in all aspects of life.

I realize that college isn’t for everybody, but that doesn’t mean those students don’t have what it takes to be successful. We added $100 million more to create better training programs and give more young people greater opportunities to learn the skills they need to build careers in the trades.

There’s nothing more important than keeping our kids safe, and that’s why our overall budget plan will spend roughly $60 million to improve school security across the state. This includes grants to help schools improve security and funds to expand the OK2SAY confidential tip program.

Overall, this spending plan respects hard-working Michigan taxpayers by reining in government spending wherever possible and spending less money than the previously enacted budget.

We have lowered taxes, eliminated driver responsibility fees and taken other steps to make sure Michigan residents can keep more of their own money. We’re cutting inefficient programs and eliminating waste, proving state government can live within its means just like Michigan families are forced to do.

We want a brighter financial future for our children and grandchildren. That’s why we are paying down debt and putting more money into the state’s emergency savings account. In the long run, these investments will lower the burden on Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers.

Our state’s economy is healthy, and I’m confident that life here will keep getting better with smart investments to improve our schools and help young people find jobs.

State Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, represents Michigan's 32nd District. Prior to taking office, Hornberger spent 23 years teaching in the East China School District, and also served as a trustee for the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education.