Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is due to travel to Macomb County this week to sign a school funding bill that some have called “historic,” according to a state senator.
Republican State Senator Michael MacDonald said the governor plans to sign the K-12 legislation Wednesday morning at Ojibwa Elementary School in Macomb Township. The bill eliminates the long-standing funding gap in Michigan school districts, providing each with a per-student base grant of $ 8,700.
“I am pleased that Governor Whitmer finally realizes the importance of funding our future responsibly and is coming to Macomb County to sign this important law,” said the senator, whose 10th district includes Macomb Township.
The Macomb Daily emailed Whitmer’s press team asking for confirmation of the governor’s appearance on Sunday. Two other officials, linked to the Democratic and Republican parties, confirmed the date.
Ojibwa School is part of the Chippewa Valley Schools in Clinton Township. Spokeswoman Diane Blain said she could neither confirm nor deny that the governor chose the school to sign the fundraising bill. The event is not open to the public.
The Republican-controlled House and Senate last week sent Whitmer the fundraising bills, which are part of a record-breaking $ 17.1 billion school aid program.
“I look forward to signing this law,” Whitmer said at the time.
The state’s education budget will not only close the per-student funding gap between school districts, but increase funding by 10%.
Traditional districts and charter schools will receive $ 8,700 in basic state aid per student, plus at least an additional $ 1,093 per student in federal funding from a bailout signed by President Joe Biden in March. The state grant will increase by $ 589, or 7%, for the vast majority of districts. Those at the high end will receive an additional $ 171, a 2% increase.
Lawmakers adopted Whitmer’s revised proposal to expand the state-funded preschool to 22,000 eligible but out-of-school 4-year-olds and increase the amount allocated per child.
They added $ 240 million to hire additional nurses and school counselors and $ 155 million to have Grand Valley State University pay up to $ 1,000 each to K-5 students who are not proficient in science. reading. The scholarship could be used for educational materials, tutoring, summer and extracurricular programs.
Senator MacDonald said efforts to close the funding gap for schools took years to resolve, but the bipartisan work of the state legislature has finally achieved the goal.
“Our Republican plan includes solid school funding,” he said in a text message on Sunday.
“More than a quarter of a century after voters approved Proposition A to gradually bring equity to school funding, our plan will finally achieve that goal. Each Michigan school will receive at least $ 8,700 per student and create an increase of almost $ 600 per student for some schools.
Additionally, according to MacDonald, the pandemic is also on the record, as students over the past year have faced increasing levels of anxiety and depression caused primarily by social isolation. He said the GOP spending bill includes $ 240 million to help schools have psychologists, nurses, social workers and counselors to help students.
Teacher unions, superintendents and charter school advocates applauded the passage of the budget and called equalization of core funding a big step forward.
Two of the bills were approved in identical form on Wednesday by both legislative chambers and sent to Whitmer for signature.
Bill 4411, which strengthens preschool, special education, mental health and literacy programs, also allocates school districts more than $ 1,000 per student in additional funding for federal coronavirus relief. The $ 17.1 billion version passed by the Senate and approved by the House represents an approximately 10% increase in K-12 funding and was slightly higher than the $ 16.8 billion version approved. by the House last week.
AP contributed to this report