Gov. Whitmer announces early childhood education investment plan

Proposal would increase per-student aid by 7% for about 84% of Michigan districts, charter schools.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce a plan to invest more into early childhood education in the state.

The news conference started at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

Gov. Whitmer was joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski and directors from Michigan State University at the conference.

The governor announced a plan to invest more money into the state’s Great Start Readiness Program in an effort to strengthen early childhood education and the state’s economy.

Just last week, Whitmer announced the Michigan Economic Jumpstart Plan -- which will utilize millions of dollars in federal COVID relief funding to help benefit small businesses and their employees.

“We’ve had billions of dollars that were sent to our state over six months ago that they still haven’t completely appropriated,” Whitmer said.

More: Gov. Whitmer looks to use COVID relief funds to help workers, small businesses

Last month, the governor proposed using a budget surplus to eliminate a funding gap among K-12 districts in the state. There is currently a $418 gap between lower- and higher-funded schools in Michigan.

The proposal would increase per-student aid by 7% for about 84% of Michigan districts and charter schools. Districts at the higher end of the spectrum would receive a nearly 2% increase.

“With the resources we have available to us thanks to federal aid and a state surplus, we can making lasting, transformative investments in our kids and schools that will have positive impacts for generations,” the governor said in a statement.

Gov. Whitmer also proposed giving schools $500 million to hire and retain more school staff and to relieve student loans for mental health workers and nurses in high-need districts, as well as another $500 million to upgrade infrastructure and $100 million to hire guidance and career counselors.

Read: Michigan Gov. Whitmer proposes eliminating longtime school funding gap for K-12 districts

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.