Schmidt votes for education budget, against general government budget

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Closure of Pugsley Correctional Facility a factor

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized the state’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan on Wednesday, Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement:

“I am happy to have once again cast my vote in support of a School Aid budget that invests in our children’s future. This year’s budget provides more than $261 million above last year, and dedicates an additional foundation allowance of between $60 and $120 per pupil. Since 2011 we have increased state funding for our K-12 school districts by $1.5 billion. It is a remarkable achievement that ensures more money gets to our classrooms to educate the next generation of Michiganders.

“While I gladly supported funding our schools, I could not, however, vote in support of the remaining budget. Last week it was announced that the Pugsley Correctional Facility, which is located in Kingsley, in my district, is to be closed as a way to save money in this budget. I could not, in good conscience, vote for that.

“Pugsley has served Grand Traverse County and northern Michigan for 60 years. It employs hundreds, helps support the region’s economy, and provides great services to rehabilitate prison inmates so they can get out and get on with living productive lives. Through no fault of its own, Pugsley is being closed to shave money off a budget. This is in spite of the good things it is doing for society and to the detriment of the hardworking people who pay taxes, have homes, and send their kids to school in Grand Traverse County.

“So while there are good things in this budget, I could not vote for it and ignore the closure of the Pugsley Correctional Facility and the effect it is going to have on our community.”