Schauer highlights education funding

 By David Eggert

Associated Press
 
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — TITLE: “The Difference.”
 
LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: For three weeks throughout Michigan on cable and network TV channels; cost is roughly $1 million.

KEY IMAGES: The Democratic Governors Association’s ad opens with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer, dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, stepping from an SUV in a parking lot. Schauer says he grew up in Livingston County, the son of a science teacher and a nurse.

“I saw the difference they made,” he says into the camera from a classroom, now wearing a jacket and tie.

Then shown with smiling children elsewhere, Schauer refers to his hometown of Battle Creek, where he “was in charge of early childhood education.”

The ad next shows Schauer as a congressman, when he “fought for lower interest rates on student loans.”

Back in the classroom, Schauer concludes by saying to the camera: “I’m Mark Schauer, and we need to stop Gov. (Rick) Snyder’s cuts to school funding. He used that money to give tax breaks to businesses even if they send jobs overseas. Let’s tell Gov. Snyder cutting school funding is no way to build a strong economy.”

ANALYSIS: The DGA ad, the first the group is airing in any state in 2014, is the second TV ad in the Michigan race after the Snyder campaign ran one in the fall. It introduces voters to Schauer, who is not well known statewide and needs to boost his name ID outside the Battle Creek area he represented in Congress from 2009-10 and in the Legislature from 1997-2008.

By mentioning his Livingston County roots, Schauer can potentially connect to viewers in metro Detroit.

The ad touches on the middle-class upbringing for Schauer, whose likely Republican opponent made millions as a businessman, and highlights a core issue for Democrats in the campaign: education.
Because his dad was a teacher and Schauer previously ran a nonprofit agency responsible for a local Head Start program, he may be able to speak with more authority on the topic.

A major sticking point in the race is Snyder’s “cuts” to education.

Democrats focus on his first year in office, when they say he and majority GOP lawmakers cut more than $1 billion from public K-12 districts, universities and community colleges. The figure is supported by a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis from June 2011, cited in a Tuesday news release from the Democratic Governors Association.

However, the budget document was a snapshot in time comparing the newly passed budget to planned spending in the existing budget. There were $930 million in “ongoing” cuts to K-12 but also an additional $455 million in “one-time” spending not factored in.

Final K-12 spending in Snyder’s first budget and the previous budget approved by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm actually ended up being different in the end. The cut was $235 million, or 1.8 percent. And Republicans note that federal stimulus money that effectively had propped up the K-12 budget for a few years during the recession dried up in the first budget for which Snyder was responsible.

The ad does not say that K-12 spending rose in the next two budgets signed by Snyder. When federal money is counted, total K-12 spending is up about 2 percent overall under his watch. Spending from just state money is nearly 8 percent higher.

Still, Democrats will continue attacking Snyder on education. State aid for Michigan’s 15 public universities is down 9 percent from three years ago. More K-12 districts are grappling with deficits, and a lot of the extra K-12 funding is going to address school employee pension liabilities caused primarily by the 2008-09 financial collapse.

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »