Michigan governor’s budget proposal will include more than $2B for educator incentive program

‘We have a substantial teacher shortage,’ Michigan’s State Education Superintendent says

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her budget proposal on Wednesday (Feb. 9). We've learned it will include more than two billion dollars for an educator incentive program.

DETROITGovernor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her budget proposal on Wednesday (Feb. 9). Local 4 learned it will include more than $2 billion for an educator incentive program.

Full-time returning K-12 teachers and other employees would get a bonus of $2,000 this year and next year. Then they will receive $3,000 in 2024 and $4,000 in 2025. Part-timers would see less cash, but still get a bonus nonetheless.

The governor and the legislature usually squabble over where to spend limited resources. These days, with billions of dollars in relief cash available, they can agree to do this kind of spending and likely will when it comes to education spending.

Michigan’s classroom sizes are getting larger while fewer and fewer teachers remain to do the job as many experienced educators retire every school year.

Michigan’s State Education Superintendent Michael Rice consulted closely with Gov. Whitmer on her education budget.

“This is an appropriate approach and a terrific approach at this moment in our state’s history,” said Rice.

Rice believes the incentives are a genuine game-changer.

“We have a substantial teacher shortage,” Rice said. “One that pre-dates the pandemic, exacerbated by the pandemic. We need these incentives, not only to stabilize the profession but to strengthen the profession and to revive the profession and make it what it once was.”

Of course, there is the question of whether even two billion dollars over five years is enough. Doug Pratt, the Director of Public Affairs for the Michigan Education Association.

“We need to recruit and retain the best and brightest people for our classrooms,” said Pratt.

And yet, while it’s an excellent start, other pressing issues need attention.

“It’s not the only thing; we need to improve the base compensation for employees; we need to improve the culture and reduce the attacks that are happening on educators,” Pratt said.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.