State leaders meet today to address major budget shortfall due to COVID-19

Posted at 4:45 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 08:07:47-04

State leaders are meeting virtually Friday morning to address a major budget shortfall due to COVID-19.

Projections paint a grim picture, including likely dire cuts to public education.

We’ll get a much more clear picture of where the state stands deficit-wise after the virtual 9 a.m. meeting with state lawmakers, but it's estimated tax revenues will be down more than $3 billion.

That means lawmakers will need to make some tough decisions on how to fill the gap. For schools, that means a lot less money per student.

A senate fiscal report released Thursday shows Michigan is facing a budget gap of nearly $2.7 billion.

This — as a third of Michigan workers have filed for unemployment and nearly two-thirds of state employees are taking temporary furlough days — expected to save the state up to $80 million.

And then, there’s anticipated cuts to education.

"We know it is going to be a big hit to our school aid and our general fund and that is why we need Congress to move quickly."

The governor and state lawmakers will meet virtually to make official estimates for Michigan’s current year and 2021 budgets.

Public education is poised to take a devastating hit — said education leaders on Wednesday — potentially 10 to 30 percent less funding per student.

"They're talking potentially up to $2,000 per child cut in foundation grant."

The assistant superintendent for Academic Services in Novi says most of his district’s costs are personnel.

"10 percent could yield 60 to 65 personnel gone. 25 percent? Come on. Now we are looking at a third of our teachers or personnel gone."

Keep in mind schools have also lost money due to COVID-19, and the governor has warned that a possible second wave of the virus will deal the state’s economy yet another blow.

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