November 23, 2014

Green says school cuts are an issue for county residents

Adds prison reopening still concern

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, said people from Arenac County approached him with a number of concerns during his visit to the Arenac County Building Friday, May 6.

Green said some of the main concerns he has heard come as the result of Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget cuts to the state education system and state employees.

“The biggest funding issues I hear, when we talk about the budget, are about the schools,” he said. “State employees are concerned as well, but I am not sure how many state employees are in this area.”

Snyder’s proposed budget cut would cost school districts across the state $470 per student. Green said cuts to the school aid fund have been “extremely exaggerated” by some people he has talked to.

“It’s only a 3.5 percent cut, as it is proposed right now in the House and Senate,” he said.

Green said he is concerned about Arenac and Bay counties not receiving as much funding with state per-pupil spending as other districts in the state. He added that some money is transferred to other districts and universities which are not able to pass millages.

“I am concerned about where our education is going today,” he said. “Public schools in Detroit and southeast Michigan are receiving as much as around $5,000 per student more than what students are receiving here.”

“We have to start closing that gap.”

Green said as long as the state economy picks up, he said funding for schools will increase after 2011.

“Even though the (proposed) cuts we are making this year seem drastic, a lot of our schools are on the bubble of losing how they have taught in the past,” he said. “There are going to be some changes, in other places from Lansing, that will help the school boards and superintendents solve some of these funding issues.”

Green said another issue he has continually been approached about is the ongoing situation with the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility.

He added the state is not looking to open any new facilities and will be closing additional facilities this year.

“I think there are some other alternatives out there,” he said. “Of course, the federal government is still one of them.”

Green said there has been some interest in private ownership.

“I don’t know if anything will ever come out of that,” he said.

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