EAST LANSING — The following can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart regarding this evening’s announcement of the agreement between the governor and legislative leaders on the current year’s state budget:
“I applaud Gov. Whitmer and legislative leaders for working together to minimize the negative impact on schools, students and public education employees in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This budget agreement prevents massive education funding cuts for the current fiscal year and, looking ahead, will help finalize plans to safely reopen schools in the fall.
“While the additional $53 million to recognize the hard work of teachers is appreciated, its scope is too narrow. MEA will be advocating that these funds be divided fairly among all school employees – not just teachers – in recognition of the efforts of education support professionals throughout this pandemic, including sanitizing facilities, making and delivering meals, and completing other critical work to keep students learning.
“It should be noted this budget does nothing to address expected shortfalls in next year’s budget, and we should be enhancing – not scaling back – our support for students and educators. To do that, I continue to urge the U.S. Senate to approve additional relief funding for schools in the HEROES Act so we can ensure safety and academic progress for our students next year.”