Michigan teachers, staff protest on Capitol lawn, demand increased state support for education

Michigan teachers and support staff were out in force on the Capitol lawn Tuesday demanding more state support. While the governor was all in, some key Republicans are not going as high as the governor wants.

The March on the Capitol by teachers and others is timely as the GOP legislature is debating how much to spend on the K-12 budget next year.

"It's time to take Michigan from 50th to the top 10 and it starts with $500 million in the state School Aid Fund," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The governor's proposed increase is the biggest increase in years. Thousands of protestors say they need more money and they are asking Republicans to give them more but some Republicans are saying they can only give so much and they are doing the best they can.

"Everyone wants more. I would like more. It’s up to the Michigan economy. We can’t ask Michigan families and taxpayers just to keep paying more if they don't have it. The economy gets better we're putting more into education," said State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, K-12 budget chair. "We're doing the best we can."

But for some, that's not good enough.

"It's never enough. The kids are struggling with things at home and coming to school we need as much support as we can get," said Anna Russo, a teacher in Holt.

"I was making more 10 years ago than I'm making today and I'm fed up with it," said Walled Lake teacher Mark Meyers.

The governor is frustrated too.

"These teachers work hard. We have districts starting budgets in two weeks and there is no conclusion in the near future and we're doing everyone a disservice by not staying here and getting the work done," she said.

She and key republicans are about $200 million apart and this Republican says you could get to $500 million but:

"It would be painful depending on where you look in the budget. You'd have to cut somebody else and the thing about dollars is everyone wants to cut waste until it’s my waste and their people don't want to cut that," said State Rep. Aaron Miller.

The governor reports budget negotiations continue but demonstrators are hoping showing up here will help her get more for them. We should know by the end of the month if they'll get more.