UPDATED: Senate acts on federal relief funding

UPDATE – June 15:

The Senate took quick action this morning, unanimously passing a substitute version of HB 4421 that primarily does what we’ve been requesting for months – send federal COVID relief funding owed to districts immediately.  This is a BIG win for Michigan schools – if the House concurs with the Senate’s version of HB 4421, more than $4 billion in federal relief funding will finally flow to the students and educators that desperately need these resources.
Of note related to yesterday’s update below:

  • Districts that did not qualify for the $450 equalization funding due to in-person learning requirements earlier this year could reapply for those dollars under this bill.
  • There is NO new equalization funding for districts getting less COVID relief under the federal Title I based formula – MEA is continuing to advocate for these funds to be allocated out of new state revenues.
  • There were no voucher-style programs included in this bill.  The Senate did not appropriate the remaining 10% of the ESSER III funds (about $370 million), so further discussion about this and other programs are still likely.

Original story – June 14:

Despite billions of dollars being available between federal COVID relief funding and strong state tax revenues for education, the Legislature must still act to get these funds to the students, educators and schools that need them.

Pending in the State Senate is HB 4421, which the House passed to distribute more than $4 billion in federal funds passed by Congress to help schools and students navigate the pandemic. Go to www.MiSchoolRelief.com to find how much your district is owed and contact your state senator to urge them to distribute those funds as intended.

When the House passed HB 4421, it included equalization funding for districts that were getting lower amounts of federal funding under the Title I distribution formula.  Last week’s announcement that state tax revenues were up $280 million for schools reinforces that such equalization funding is possible – if you’re in one of these districts, be sure to contact your lawmakers to advocate for the equalization funding.

Discussions are also continuing around the state education budget for next school year, which includes more than $1 billion in state revenue available to increase funding.  Gov. Whitmer released her priorities for those funds earlier in June.  Current state law requires that the budget be done by July 1, but a bill was recently introduced that would extend that deadline – the state’s new fiscal year begins October 1, by which time a budget must be adopted for 2021-22.

 

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