EAST LANSING — The Michigan Education Association announced its support Monday for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “MI Kids Back on Track” proposal, which would invest $280 million in surplus state revenues in helping Michigan students get back on a path to success following the pandemic.
“Many Michigan students fell behind during the pandemic — particularly those who struggled with virtual learning — and Gov. Whitmer’s proposal will help our students get essential tutoring and extra support to fulfill their potential,” said MEA President Paula Herbart, a veteran teacher from Macomb County. “For the sake of our kids, Michigan educators and parents are urging state lawmakers to come together and pass the governor’s ‘Back on Track’ proposal along with the rest of her bold education budget investments.”
Funding for the inventive program would come from a pot of $3 billion in additional state revenues recently announced by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. This is not a tax increase, but rather unanticipated revenues due to sound fiscal management and a stronger-than-anticipated economy.
Whitmer’s proposal complements efforts underway in numerous Michigan school districts to invest federal school rescue funds in tutoring programs and other forms of academic support to aid students.
In addition to the “Back on Track” program for the current fiscal year, the governor is proposing a transformational budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year that would raise the per-student allowance to a record level, tackle the educator shortage head-on through significant retention bonuses and recruitment incentives, and substantially increase mental health support for students. Notably, Whitmer’s $18.4 billion PreK-12 education budget proposal would not increase taxes.
“These past few years have been rough for many Michigan students, parents and educators,” Herbart said. “The governor’s budget proposals will address many of the challenges facing Michigan students and schools, and help secure a brighter future for our state.”