If the school bus arrives after the starting bell, it’s late.

That said, the children aboard them usually get a pass, and the tardy isn’t held against them. After all, it wasn’t really their fault.

Thursday the school aid budget arrived more than two weeks after the starting bell — three weeks for many downstate schools.

It’s tardy. But the fault lies in the schoolyard politics between executive and legislative branches.

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a $15.2 billion school aid budget bill Thursday, which the state Senate is expected to pass. The bill raised per-pupil spending between $120 and $240 per student — an extra $304 million — and injected an extra $30 million into special education services.

We’re glad to see bipartisan support and movement on budgets.

But we already know our former governor’s tactics of nudging up school budgets had negligible results.

We also know that government’s third wheel needs greasing to keep rolling, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was notably left out of the discussion and her pet pushes — 20 percent cyber school cut and an $84 million allocation for a program to service low-income preschool families — left out of the proposed budget.

“But we did it on the Governor’s deadline,” crowed several legislators Thursday.

This nanner-nanner is happening on all sides.

“Over the summer, you took a two-month long vacation instead of coming to the table to negotiate a budget,” wrote Whitmer in a recent upbraiding of Senate and House leaders, referencing a deadline ahead of the Michigan Republican Party Mackinac Leadership Conference this weekend.

“Now, time is of the essence and it is your responsibility to pass all of your budgets and send them to me prior to your weekend getaway.”

The Governor will get the budgets, but she won’t get a win.

And if it keeps up, neither will we.

Budgets need to be hashed out and discussed, and compromises made.

Keep the school bus on the road, and keep moving in a positive direction.

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