A supplemental budget bill awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature after lawmakers this week approved a deal that restores money for isolated schools and autism services and increases funding for school literacy coaches.
The spending measure ends a two-month standoff between Whitmer and legislative leaders. It increases the total budget by $573.5 million, including an additional $70.5 million for the School Aid Fund and $44 million for higher education.
The agreement restores some line items vetoed by the governor in early October after Republican legislative leaders passed a budget without her input on the eve of the fiscal year deadline. As part of the deal, Whitmer got some of her priorities included in the spending package.
The bills restore the following K-12 items that were vetoed by the governor:
— $35.0 million for the foundation allowance increase for public school academies
— $10.0 million for school safety grants
— $7.0 million for isolated or rural districts
— $1.6 million for added costs at strict discipline academies
— $750,000 for added costs of dropout recovery programs
— $350,000 for an autism intervention pilot project
— $300,000 for a multisensory education program
The bills also restore $38 million for a higher education tuition grant program.
New items in the budget deal include:
- Increased funding for early literacy coaches by $10.5 million, from $21.0 million to $31.5 million; increased grant funding from $75,000 to $112,500 per coach; and removal of the requirement that intermediate school districts provide a 50% match in support of the coaches.
- $5 million in grants for summer reading programs for third graders not proficient in reading.
- A $6 million increase for Michigan Competitive Scholarships to address anticipated program funding shortfalls.
Changes limiting the governor’s ability to use the state’s administrative board to move funding around within departments only apply to this budget for now.