Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her first budget proposal on March 5, 2019. Educators across Michigan met this proposal with enthusiastic support and hailed the proposed K-12 school-aid budget calling it a bold vision for Michigan’s future and a historic opportunity to reinvest in our schools after years of budgets driven more by talking points than actual investments in education.
“I’m thrilled to see a Governor that is willing to not only recognize the funding crisis that schools across Michigan are facing, but put together a comprehensive plan that acknowledges the unique needs of every school and gives them the resources they need to succeed,” said Mark Greathead, TCA Vice-President and Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools.
“I’m excited as an educator because I know the game-changing impact this budget would have in classrooms across Michigan, but I’m even more excited for our students to see leadership in Lansing that is putting their success first and foremost. They deserve nothing less.”
Governor Whitmer’s budget directly pulls from the recommendations of the School Finance Research Collaborative (SFRC), a non-partisan group of business, government and education officials tasked with reexamining the approach to how we fund Michigan’s schools to fully prepare all students for jobs and success.
Among the group’s key recommendations was to adopt a weighted funding formula like the one included in Governor Whitmer’s budget that recognizes unique factors and costs that districts face such as English language learners, special education programs, career technical education programs, and at-risk students.
The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (TCA) played a lead role in creating and supporting the work of the SFRC and gave a special thanks to Governor Whitmer for utilizing the group’s research while developing her budget.
“It’d have been easy for any Governor to shy away from the hard truths the SFRC’s work showed us not only about how poorly our state has done funding our schools, but the monumental challenges that lie in the way of fixing that,” said Dr. Russell Pickell, Superintendent of the Riverview Community School District.
“Governor Whitmer’s budget not only embraces those challenges but puts real solutions on paper to overcome them. This budget is nothing short of a historic opportunity to reinvest in our schools and our students.
“This budget, as proposed, will increase the foundation allowance of the Riverview Community School District by $265 per student for a total of approximately $790,000 in additional revenues. These resources are sorely needed to prepare our students to compete in a global society.”
The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on their respective proposed budgets. Once complete, the three budgets will go to committee for a final recommendation. Citizens are encouraged to contact their representatives and senators to encourage support for the Governor’s proposed budget and the findings of the SRFC.
Reference TCA for Public Education