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Legislature may repeal law setting July 1 budget deadline to avoid breaking law

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 14, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — After it was reported that schools face huge challenges because their budgets are due July first, while state budgets have been due in October, something amazing happened. Lawmakers responded, holding themselves accountable to your children.

The legislature passed a law saying it would get the state budget out by July first starting this year. But, at this point, it doesn’t look like they will be able to comply with that law. So now what?

One bill may hold the answer. While the law says that state leaders need to have a budget worked out by July 1, a new bill shows there sometimes may not be much difference between lawbreaking and law-making. Senate Bill 537 would get rid of the July 1 deadline this year.

The bill to change the deadline for when state lawmakers have to get the budget worked out was introduced by State Senator Jim Stamas (R-36th District). It is before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has the job of getting the budget done.

School leaders are voicing concerns. In many school districts school leaders want to hire more staff to help children rebound academically and emotionally from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Not knowing if we can do that or the levels to which we can do that, is really the time crunch we are in,” said Erik Edoff, L'Anse Creuse Public School Superintendent.

Edoff says he has delayed posting positions he hopes to have in the district until he knows more. State lawmakers and the governor have not agreed on per-pupil funding. School leaders worry, will there be stipulations on how money is spent that force them to scrap plans to expand certain services to kids?

“We just can’t guess. It would be irresponsible to guess what that would look like. And until we see that flow to the district we can’t make concrete plans,” said Edoff.

Schools tell us they are putting together conservative budget plans to comply with the law that requires they submit their budgets to the state by July 1.