State House passes big K-12 budget, lawmakers are proposing $65B to go to schools

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Posted at 8:19 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 08:19:58-04

DETROIT, MI (WXYZ) — The republican-controlled Michigan house has okay-ed a state spending plan which includes billions in federal COVID relief dollars and additional funding for schools.

The House-approved $65 billion plan still needs to get approval from the state Senate.

If Michigan's House-approved spending plan gets the green light from the senate, districts and charter schools would receive a base of $8700 per student in state aid.

The state grant would rise by just under $600, or seven percent, for the majority of districts.

Wealthier school districts would also get a boost of $171 or two percent.

On top of that, districts would receive at least $1093 per student in federal dollars.

Governor Whitmer called this a strong start. If approved, it would eliminate a major funding gap.

She’s pushed for expanded state-funded preschool to 22,000 more 4-year-olds in Michigan, a proposal welcomed by the house.

"This is the kind of transformative investment that will return immediate dividend, but long term as well," Whitmer said.

The income-based program is available to families up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that’s $66,000 a year.

"It's is going to require the training of teachers, the building of classrooms, but this is a bit of a process," Whitmer said. "The first step in the process is getting the dollars so we can get the teachers trained and the classrooms built out."

The spending plan, passed by the house late last night, brings the governor one step closer to that vision.

The House bills do not include funding for public universities and community colleges. Decisions on state aid for those institutions have been put off.

The next fiscal year starts October 1, but for school districts, it is July 1, so lawmakers must send governor Whitmer a final spending plan by then.