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Gov. Whitmer Leads Roundtable Discussion with Local Educators, Administrators & Students at Lincoln High School


September 8, 2021  

Gov. Whitmer Leads Roundtable Discussion with Local Educators, Administrators & Students at Lincoln High School 

WARREN, Mich. - Following making the largest education investment in Michigan's history of $17 billion without raising taxes, which closed the funding gap between the highest- and lowest-funded school districts, Governor Whitmer met with educators, school administrations, and students from Lincoln High School to ensure a smooth transition as districts across the state move back to in-person learning. 

"It has been an incredibly difficult year and a half for so many Michiganders, but especially for our students and educators, who have had to adjust quickly to constantly changing circumstances," said Governor Whitmer. "I'm inspired by how school districts across our state have stepped up to put students first, and I will continue working hard to get them the resources they need to thrive. Our classrooms and communities show so much promise for what's ahead as they return to in-person learning safely. I will be there every step of the way to support teachers, students and parents as we return to in-person learning and tackle ongoing mental health challenges." 

Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II will meet with school districts across Michigan to discuss best practices for transitioning from virtual to in-person learning and hearing directly from students on the supports they need. During these unprecedented times, students need a comprehensive recovery-social-emotional, mental, physical, and academic support. 

In February of 2021, Governor Whitmer created the Student Recovery Advisory Council of Michigan. The Council has released a Blueprint that districts can use to create their own comprehensive student recovery plans. The Blueprint is designed to support local education leaders in developing and implementing a comprehensive recovery plan that is multi-year, evidence-based, and equity-driven. The Blueprint provides data-informed recommendations to address challenges across wellness, academics, school culture and climate, family and community engagement and post-secondary education. MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery also provides specific recommendations for state-level policymakers to accelerate student recovery now and lay the foundation for significant systems change in the future. 

"The educators and staff here at Van Dyke have moved mountains, first to craft a meaningful online learning experience for our students during the pandemic, and now to welcome them into a safe and supportive environment that best meets their individual needs, said Piper Bognar, superintendent of Van Dyke Public Schools. "Working together, our team ramped up our summer programming to help ease the transition into in-person learning, and more than 350 families in the district received home visits to ensure children and families are getting what they need to make this a successful school year. The additional state and federal resources coming to our school districts will provide welcome reinforcements to the varied programs we're able to offer students to keep their learning on track and to care for their mental, social, and emotional well-being. We're proud to have the Governor here for our strong start to the new school year." 

"Every new school year is full of excitement and anxieties but returning to school this year had its own set of challenges after being fully virtual for about a year and a half," said Lincoln High School Principal Billie Sczepaniak. "Here at Lincoln High School, we've been working day and night so our students can continue their learning in a place that supports them academically, mentally, and emotionally. The additional funding for school recovery has had a positive impact for Van Dyke Public Schools. We're able to strengthen and enhance our students' high school experience with a range of options including our Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium (SMTEC/CTE) career pathways, our virtual Success Academy, and our robust mental health services for students, parents, staff, and community members. We 're in a position to build a stronger school than we've ever had before and I'm glad we had the opportunity to share our experience with Governor Whitmer and our visitors today." 

In July of this year, Governor Whitmer signed the School Aid budget. A budget which includes $723 million to eliminate the gap between the minimum and maximum foundation allowance by setting both at $8,700 per pupil, an increase of $589 per pupil from the current year minimum amount and an increase of $171 per pupil from the current year target amount. In addition, intermediate school districts receive a 4% operational funding increase.