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State Superintendent Applauds the Focus of Whitmer Budget Recommendations

LANSING – State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice today applauded the executive budget recommendations presented by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that recognizes the needs of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I appreciate Governor Whitmer’s prioritization of children, educators, and schools in her budget,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “To move through and beyond this public health crisis, we need to increase and target resources to address the education challenges both existent before and created by the pandemic.

“Additional time and resources are going to be required to help address the foregone learning and the social-emotional learning and mental health needs of our students,” Dr. Rice said. “The governor’s proposed investments will help our children in pre-K-12 and early child care settings now and into the next school year. I encourage the legislature to work closely with the governor to help support our families, children, and schools at this difficult moment.”

The governor’s budget recommendation increases funding for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) by $32.2 million, to a total of $282.4 million. This increase would raise the allocation for a full-time preschooler by $1,086 to $8,275, the same level as the proposed minimum K-12 foundation allowance. This would be the first increase since 2014 for children enrolled in GSRP.

Likewise, the recommendation provides a $78 million increase to expand child care options by increasing the income eligibility threshold from 150% to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines through September 2022. Also, this funding would temporarily cover out-of-pocket copays for families.

The executive recommendation includes $203 million to increase the per-pupil foundation allowance by $82 to $164 per pupil, distributed through the 2x formula. Total state funding for the foundation allowance would exceed $9.4 billion. The minimum foundation allowance would increase to $8,275 per pupil, an increase of 2.0%. The target foundation allowance would increase to $8,611 per pupil, an increase of 1.0%. These increases would reduce the gap between the minimum and target foundation allowance to $336.

Additional highlights of the governor’s executive budget recommendation include:

  • a $12.5 million increase for economically disadvantaged students;
  • a 2% increase ($7.4 million total) to support costs in rural and isolated districts;
  • a 2% increase ($13.3 million total) for English language learners;
  • a 2% increase ($61.4 million total) for students with special needs;
  • a one-time $55 million increase in fiscal year 2021 supplemental funding for payments to school districts to replace drinking water fixtures;
  • $250 million in fiscal year 2021 supplemental funding for “student recovery services” that implement research-informed best practices to support student academic recovery, physical and mental health, and post-secondary readiness and transition; and
  • $200 million to stabilize the education system and provide greater predictability for districts experiencing enrollment declines. Districts would be reimbursed for 70% of lost pupils between fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022.

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