The Legislature is expected to enact a supplemental budget bill this week to address pandemic-driven revenue shortfalls for the school year that ended in June.
As announced a few weeks ago, Gov. Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders agreed to a budget resolution that filled funding gaps with federal CARES Act dollars, State Budget Stabilization Fund and targeted cuts. Including the CARES funds, K-12 wound up with an additional $256 million in funds to address COVID-19 costs – higher education broke even. (Read more about the budget agreement here.)
Part of the agreement included funds for $500 in “hazard pay” for teachers – MEA and other union allies are pushing for additional funding to be allocated to expand those payments to fairly include education support professionals who worked this spring during the pandemic.
Notably, the budget agreement does nothing to address expected shortfalls for the state’s next fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. To fill those gaps, Congress – specifically the U.S. Senate – must take action on the HEROES Act that would provide billions to ensure students continue to get the educational opportunities they deserve. As U.S. Sen. Gary Peters so aptly said during May’s virtual funding rally, “Our public schools cannot be a casualty of COVID.”