Educators praise Whitmer’s signing of Oxford schools relief bill
EAST LANSING — The Michigan Education Association and local educators Friday praised Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing legislation that provides much-needed financial relief to Oxford Community Schools in the aftermath of last fall’s tragic shooting at Oxford High School.
House Bill 6012 provides Oxford with $9.8 million to help the district recover from the Nov. 30 attack, which claimed the lives of four students and wounded others. The funding will go toward student support, mental health staff, school security, personnel, family liaisons, additional learning time, legal fees, building restoration and paying penalties for not meeting attendance requirements due to closures after the shooting.
“This legislation will help provide some measure of relief to students, educators and parents in Oxford and help them begin to put together the pieces,” MEA President Paula Herbart said. “MEA members in Oxford and across the state spent weeks emailing and calling lawmakers to urge them to help the Oxford community, and it’s good to see our members’ advocacy efforts have been successful. Nothing can bring back the lives of those four young people we lost, but at the same time we must help the survivors move forward as much as we can.”
Jim Gibbons, the band director at Oxford High School and president of the Oxford Education Association, said: “On behalf of the Oxford Education Association and all of the Oxford Schools staff and students, I would like to thank the many stakeholders who came together to pass this legislation to assist Oxford Schools in our recovery. It was through the work of the Oxford Schools leadership team, the Michigan Education Association, the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Oakland Schools, and our governor and legislative leaders, that a bill was passed and signed that gives Oxford the financial resources to continue to support our students and staff in their healing. It has been amazing to see all of these folks work together on our behalf.”
The legislation also includes funding for two grant programs that any school district can apply for. The first program allocates $15 million total for safety and security assessment grants, and the second program provides $12.5 million to help school districts develop detailed maps of buildings that can be used by first responders when responding to a critical incident.