Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

June 16, 2013

From roads to schools, Mich. budget touches you

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Schoolchildren, drivers, hunters and others will face changes when the new state budget takes effect in 3½ months.

The Republican-crafted spending plan, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday, affects many corners of Michigan life — from how much it will cost to hunt and fish to fixing deteriorating roads to lengthening the school year.

Here's a look at ways the budget will shape the state's priorities and touch lives across Michigan:

EDUCATION

— If you attend one of the state's 15 public universities, your tuition is unlikely to rise more than 3.75 percent unless colleges want to lose potential funding.

— If you have a 4-year-old, he or she might be eligible for publicly funded preschool under an effort to give 16,000 more disadvantaged kids the chance to be better prepared for K-12 schooling. The income cutoff is roughly $39,000 for a parent with one child, $59,000 for a family of four — with slots first going to the poorest children.

— If you're in first through 12th grade, you're looking at going to school longer. K-12 districts are required to have at least 175 days of instruction next year instead of 170 this year, with exceptions for snow days and other emergencies.

— If you have a child in school, overall state spending will be up about 3 percent. But how your district is affected will vary, depending on whether it' better-funded or lower-funded and if it meets various requirements to get additional funding. Districts' traditional per-pupil grant is not as big as they would like, but Snyder says the state is helping cover employee retirement costs equaling $250 per student.

— If your child is in grades 5 to 12, he or she can enroll in up to two online courses paid for by the district.

— If you're a teacher or school administrator, implementing more rigorous "Common Core" standards designed to ensure students get a deeper understanding of math, reading and other subjects is on hold. The state Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, but Republicans blocked funding for the initiative next year. Lawmakers plan to revisit the issue after their summer break.

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