State Superintendent Michael Rice (pictured above) praised the school funding increases included in the budget proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying it set the path for a growth within the Michigan school system.
The $61.9 billion budget proposal for 2021 is 3.9 percent than this year’s budget, according to MLive. The School Aid budget makes up $15.9 billion of the overall budget.
It includes an additional $60 million in special education funding, an additional $60 million for economically disadvantaged students and an additional $5 million for students learning English.
“I am excited that the governor’s budget recognizes the needs of all children, and provides some of the extra funding that is needed to help all children achieve,” Rice said in a statement.
Rice said that six separate school funding studies in the past six years have shown that Michigan’s budget plan needs to have differentiated funding to meet the variety of needs in the school system.
“Different kids have different needs; different needs have different costs,” Rice said. “The governor’s recommended budget priorities reflect those realities by proposing additional funding for students with special needs, low-income students, and English language learners.”
There was also a proposed increase of $104.5 million for various early childhood education programs.
“We have the highest quality early childhood education system nationally and we need to open that door to more children,” Rice said. “Our programs benefit our children and pay positive dividends when they enter our K-12 system.”
Whitmer’s budget also focuses past Michigan students. It includes a one-time $25 million proposal to reimburse teachers for out-of-pocket expenses for their classrooms, as well as $1.5 million for teacher cadet programs and $180,000 to help address the teacher shortage in the state.
Per-pupil funding in Michigan would also see an increase by $290 million, with lowest-funded districts seeing an increase of $225 per student and highest-funded districts seeing an increase of $150 per student.
The state legislature will now consider the governor’s budget proposal, which must be passed by June 30, 2020.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Michael Rice” by the Michigan Department of Education.