Michigan House OKs new state budget including record $16.7 billion for K-12 schools

Budget passed in House before July 1 deadline

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LANSING, Mich.Michigan House of Representatives approved a new state budget Thursday before the July 1 deadline, including record funding for local schools.

According to state officials, highlights of the new budget plan include:

  • Record funding for K-12 schools, up to $16.7 billion statewide
  • Eliminating the funding gap between highly-funded and lower-funded school districts
  • Opening up 22,000 new spots for early childhood education programs
  • Investing more than a half-billion dollars in debt in the teacher retirement system, protecting pensions for teachers for decades to come
  • A 2% increase for local government parks, road repairs, police & fire services, and more
  • Increased funding for public safety
  • Increased funding for dam safety and necessary repairs

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

All districts will get $8,700 per student.

“Passing this budget is a big step in getting Michigan back to normal and helping our friends, family and neighbors get their lives back on track,” said House Speaker Jason Wentworth. “This plan helps workers get back on the job. It helps kids get back in the classroom, and it helps restart critical government services that had been put on hold over the past year. This is the budget Michigan families have been asking us to deliver.”

In May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed using a budget surplus to eliminate a funding gap among K-12 districts, 27 years after Michigan overhauled the financing of public education.

The Governor’s Office said the budget also fully funds or expands programs including “the Michigan Reconnect job training program to help Michiganders compete for good-paying jobs, the Great Start Readiness Program to support early childhood education, the Clean Slate initiative to expand the state’s expungement system, and a wage increase for direct care workers who care for our most vulnerable.”

“The bills passed by the House today represent bipartisan progress in the budget process and are a step in the right direction as we continue Michigan’s economic jumpstart,” Whitmer said. “This framework is a strong start and proposes historic investments in public education, bumps up pay for direct care workers, and puts more people on tuition-free paths to higher education and skills training. However, we still have a lot of work to do to get this across the finish line, and I look forward to action from the Senate by July 1st so we can deliver for Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities.”

READ: Michigan Legislature, Gov. Whitmer agree on budget, billions in federal aid packages passes

Education leaders react to House passing state budget

“Public school kids in Michigan deserve an education that’s funded equitably and fairly, no matter where they go to school.

“Today’s landmark legislation by the state House of Representatives ends decades of funding discrimination that targeted Michigan kids – too often some of Michigan’s poorest kids – based on where they went to school. It’s a great day for Michigan’s children, and we encourage the state Senate to enact the same pro-student reform when they’re next back in session.”

Beth DeShone, Great Lakes Education Project director

“We appreciate the House leadership putting together a well-crafted budget that, at long last, allocates the entirety of the federal funding to our schools. This budget effectively provides the building blocks on which we will create a robust support system to address the individual needs of our students throughout the upcoming school year.

“While there is much work ahead of us, the budget passed today provides a strong framework to get our students back on the path to success and we appreciate the work of the House of Representatives in getting this done. It is now critically important that the Senate take this bill up and send it to the Governor’s desk to ensure these resources get to our classrooms as quickly as possible.”

Ken Gutman, K-12 Alliance of Michigan president

“It has been a critically important goal for Superintendents across Michigan to get this budget done by July 1st and provide funding and certainty to schools in time to put procedures in place and hire the staff needed to support the recovery of our students.

“We appreciate House members for putting Michigan’s schools and students first and with less than a week left until school budgets must be finalized, we urge the Senate to follow suit and send this budget to the Governor’s desk as quickly as possible.”

Peter Spadafore, deputy executive director of external relations for Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.