EDUCATION LEADERS SUPPORT WHITMER’S FIRST BUDGET PROPOSAL
Groups Urge Passage Before School Budgets Are Due
LANSING, MI —The Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators (MASA), the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB), the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA), and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) applaud Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on a budget proposal that invests in the classroom and recognizes the need for school funding equity.
If the Legislature adopts the budget proposed by Gov. Whitmer, this will be one of the most significant changes in the way we fund schools in Michigan’s public education system in a generation. In her first opportunity to give details behind her vision for the state’s public education system, the governor called for an increase in the foundation allowance and asked the Legislature to create a weighted funding formula for per pupil funding.
“We are optimistic about this budget as the governor is thinking about education funding in a different way than we have seen from governor’s past,” said Bill Miller, executive director of MAISA.
Gov. Whitmer’s proposal would implement a $235 million increase in the foundation allowance. The proposal includes $120 million to increase state reimbursement for special education services and $102 million to increase state support for economically disadvantaged, academically at-risk students. Also noteworthy is $50 million for Career and Technical Education students, which equates to $487 per eligible pupil.
“This ‘outside the box’ approach adopts key recommendations from the School Finance Research Collaborative’s (SFRC) work, and gives school districts, rather than the state, more control over how education dollars are spent to meet the needs of our students,” said MASA Executive Director Chris Wigent.
“To make a positive impact on our school districts we need to make big investments in our public education system,” Wigent said. “We are excited to see the work of the SFRC taken into consideration as we work to move this state’s education system forward.”
Included in the budget proposal was a boost in funding for students impacted by poverty, special education students, and additional funds to increase the number of literacy coaches statewide – a topic that came up during Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State Address last month where she discussed Michigan’s rank nationally for student literacy.
"Some students need more supports than others. Our schools provide individualized instruction for each pupil and our state budget should recognize that we need individualized funding based on each student's need," said Wendy Zdeb, MASSP executive director. "The governor's budget is a huge step in the right direction because it recognizes that a one-size-fits-all funding formula and top-down decision making doesn't provide many students with the support they need to be successful."
“We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to get a budget passed before school budgets are due in late June,” said Don Wotruba, executive director of MASB. “This will ensure our students receive a high-quality education, and that school boards and administrators can make timely and accurate budgeting decisions.”
In 2016-17, more than half of the third-graders in Michigan were failing to read proficiently.
A statewide Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) showed that only 44 percent of Michigan third-graders are proficient readers.
Educators agree that third grade is a crucial year: That is when students transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”