Legislative budget proposals continue to rebuild education funding from pre-school to post-secondary

Earlier this year, Gov. Whitmer proposed a $20.6 billion plan for the state education budget for the coming year. This week, the State House and Senate put forward their own proposals for funding Michigan schools, with the House recommending a $19.6 billion plan and the Senate at $20.76 billion. Wherever they end up, public schools are in line for another significant funding increase that sets up students and educators for long-term success.

Note that this is still early in the budget process – the House and Senate will begin discussions about the budget (both any amendments for the current year and the new budget year that starts Oct. 1) in the coming weeks with final passage in late spring or early summer.

The Governor’s budget proposal started with a 5% increase to the school foundation allowance – a $458 increase that would bring the per-student funding to $9,608. The House proposed a $366 increase to bring per-student funding to $9,516. The Senate is proposing a $550 increase to $9,700 per pupil.

Gov. Whitmer proposed significant increases in key areas. She recommended increasing special education foundation allowance funding by 12.5 percentage points to get closer to full state funding of the foundation allowance for special education students. The House and the Senate both recommended fully funding special education at the student allowance level.

Under the Governor’s plan, schools with a large number of at-risk students and English language learners would see another $94 million – in the House and the Senate plans, these students would see another $99 million.

A major policy proposal in all three budgets is $160 million for free school breakfasts and lunches. If passed, Michigan would be the 4th state in the country to provide free meals to all public school children on an ongoing basis (in addition to California, Colorado and Maine), providing a total of over 18 million meals annually.

The Governor and the House proposed adding $300 million for school safety and mental health for the next two years, while the Senate added $343 million in these areas.

To help support student success, Gov. Whitmer and the House are calling for $300 million for the MI Kids Back on Track program to provide school-based tutoring and support for students in need of targeted help. The Senate is calling for $100 million for this program.

The Governor, Senate, and the House are all beginning a movement towards the goal of universal pre-K programs with an additional $78 million from both the Governor and the House for the Great Start Readiness Program and the Senate asking for $117 million for pre-K programs.

All three proposed $202 million in additional payments into the Michigan Public Employees Retirement System.

The Governor proposed $150 million for EV buses, while the Senate asked for $75 million. The House did not request any funding for EV buses.

The Governor proposed $25 million additional for before- and after-school programs, while both the House and Senate proposed an additional $50 million.

Both the Governor and the House included $25 million to continue the Future Educator Fellowship and another $50 million for student teacher stipends. The Senate proposed $250 million for student loan repayment, with $250 to $450 a month being offered toward loan payments.

The House requested $150 for school districts that have high transportation costs.

The Senate’s recommendation included $125 million for a Teacher’s Salary Incentive pilot program.

The Governor and the Senate also recommended to reduce funding for cyber charter schools by 20 percent or $7,687 per pupil, an overall reduction of $42 million. The House recommended keeping the funding at last year’s level, $9,150 per pupil.

The Governor’s School Aid budget also included $900 million to put into a new Rainy Day Fund for schools; neither the House nor Senate included this funding.

Community Colleges and Universities Funding

The Governor is proposing a 4% increase for community colleges and universities, while the Senate proposed a 6% increase. We are expecting the House higher education budget recommendations next week – stay tuned for more analysis from MEA then.  In the meantime, more details on the Governor’s higher education budget recommendations are here.

School Aid Fund Budget At-A-Glance Comparisons:

Governor House Senate
Foundation Allowance $9,608 $9,516 $9,700
Special Education 12.5 percentage points closer to fully funded Fully Funded at $9,516 Fully Funded at $9,700
At Risk Students Increase $66.5m $66.5m $73m
English Learners Increase $94m $99m $99m
Free Breakfast and Lunch $160m $160m $160m
Back on Track Program $300m $300m $100m
Pre-K Programs Increase $78m $78m $117m
Rainy Day Fund $900m n/a n/a
MPSERS Increase $202m $202m $202m
EV Buses $150m n/a $75m
Before and After School Programs $25m $50m $50
Future Educator Fellowship $25m $25m n/a
Student Teacher Stipends $50m $50m n/a
Student Loan Repayment n/a n/a $250m
Mental Health and School Safety $300m $300m $343m
Healthy Schools/Safe Water $300m $300m $150m
High Cost Transportation $150
Salary Incentive Pilot Program $125
Cyber School Funding 20% less At Last Year Level $9,150 20% less
Total $20.6b $19.6b $20.76b


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MEA member Melissa Lambert, a librarian at Allen Park High School, with MEA Vice President Brett Smith (center) and Allen Park Education President Joel Burkey.

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