EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attributed to Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart, in reaction to the unveiling of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest education budget proposal:
“Gov. Whitmer’s budget proposal will help Michigan turn the corner as we work to move forward from the pandemic and create a brighter future for every student, from PreK through post-graduate. These have been a challenging few years for students, parents and educators — now is the time for us to all work together to solve the challenges facing our schools and make Michigan a leader in public education.
“We must continue working to attract and retain the best and brightest educators for our students, and that’s why we strongly support the governor’s plan to provide across-the-board 5% increases in per-student funding for local school districts. It’s critical that school districts use this funding to increase compensation for teachers and education support professionals, so we can keep good educators on the job and attract new talent to the education profession. After all, our kids deserve to have trained, skilled and well-compensated educators working in their schools.
“Many students fell behind during the pandemic, and we must help them get back on a path to success. The governor’s proposed ‘MI Kids Back on Track’ tutoring program will provide one-on-one, school-based support for students who need extra help. Combined with free breakfast and lunch funding to ensure students aren’t hungry at school, this budget provides critical and specific support to help our kids achieve their full potential.
“We also strongly support Gov. Whitmer’s funding proposals for our state’s public universities and community colleges, through increased funding for both operating funds and improved access to post-secondary opportunities. Her proposed expansion of the Michigan Reconnect program will help more hardworking Michiganders get a community college degree or certificate and benefit from a better-paying career. In addition, the governor’s continued budgetary support for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship will drastically reduce the cost of higher education for college students and families.
“Gov. Whitmer’s latest budget plan proves once again her commitment to listening to the voices of educators and taking their expertise to heart when crafting education policy, as well as her dedication to student’ long-term success. We look forward to working closely with Gov. Whitmer and legislators from both parties as they finalize the budget this spring, so we can ensure our schools get the resources they need to help our students succeed.”