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Budget deadline nears

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By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI – This week marks the self-imposed deadline set by state lawmakers to complete work on the K-12 schools budget for the coming fiscal year.

But there are many complications and disagreements to overcome.

Key negotiators in the House and Senate said they had reached an agreement last week over spending levels for next year. But Republicans in the Senate want to use a surplus of money in the schools budget to fill holes in other areas of the current budget.

Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon says it doesn't make sense to use up money that might not be there later.

"We've had a lot of volatility in the School Aid Fund numbers," Dillon says. "From January to May was a big swing, so why would you go spend that money until you understand which way the School Aid Fund was heading."

The governor says it's good that lawmakers are close to a deal on the schools budget. But she says Congress made the negotiations much more difficult in Michigan when it failed to approve an extension of unemployment benefits and Medicaid funds. She says that would create even more holes in the budget.

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