Governor Whitmer Discusses In-Person Learning, Historic Education Budget and Next School Year with Superintendents



August 15, 2022

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Governor Whitmer Discusses In-Person Learning, Historic Education Budget and Next School Year with Superintendents

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke with over 50 Michigan superintendents representing all regions of the state and emphasized the importance of in-person learning. She also pointed to the recent bipartisan budget for education, which includes the state’s highest per-student investment in Michigan history and historic investments in school infrastructure, campus mental health, school safety and teacher recruitment and training. The roundtable aimed to ensure that children can continue to learn in person and that districts can use all available resources from the budget.

“As a parent, I know how important in-person learning is to our children, and I use every tool at my disposal to keep students and the classroom safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “The bipartisan education I signed last month is making historic investments to support in-person learning, where studies show it has the most success. The budget, which includes the most per-student funding highest in Michigan’s history, $250 million for school infrastructure and funds for mental health, teacher recruitment and school safety, will give districts the tools they need to help kids get back on their feet. on the right path. long-term success. I applaud the dedicated superintendents across the state for their leadership through unprecedented challenges, and look forward to working with them to ensure students have a successful school year. unbelievable.

In 2020, Governor Whitmer established the COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council, to which she appointed educators, parents, and students to provide guidance for a safe, equitable, and effective transition to school for students in kindergarten to 12th grade. This year, Governor Whitmer created the Parent Council of Michigan to give parents an empowered seat at the policy-making table.

Governor Whitmer has worked with health care and education leaders, as well as students and parents to obtain their perspectives throughout the budget process and she will continue to engage with them. during school year.

“As the largest coalition of school leaders in the state, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators is committed to providing the highest quality in-person education in school districts across the state,” said Tina Kerr, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators. “We are grateful for Governor Whitmer’s partnership in this effort to support our students as they return to the classroom this fall. The budget she recently signed into law makes unprecedented investments in K-12 education that will help our schools provide the comprehensive supports to ensure students can have the most successful school year yet. .

Education budget investments

The education budget can be broken down into six key sections: students, mental health, learning support, student safety, school infrastructure, and teacher recruitment.

1) Students

For our students, the highest per-student funding in Michigan history – $9,150 for every child, in every public school district. Additional support for Michigan’s nearly 200,000 special education students and 710,000 at-risk students. An expansion of free preschool under the Great Start Readiness Program to an additional 1,300 children, enabling the state to serve more than 50,000 four-year-olds. Increase funding for vocational and technical training programs by 27%.

2) Mental health

Dedicated mental health funds for every student in every school. Increase funding for adolescent centers, district mental health grants, and TRAILS, which provides training for school mental health professionals so they can better serve students with evidence-based services.

3) Recruitment of teachers

Funding for the MI Future Educator Scholarships, which pay up to $10,000 in tuition for future educators in Michigan, $9,600 in per-semester stipends for trainee teachers, and Grow-Your-Own programs that help districts put support staff on free paths to become educators. Additional funding for Vocational and Technical Educators and the Troops-to-Teachers program that connects veterans with teacher mentors as they work to become certified educators. Finally, a solid investment to guarantee retired teachers a stable and secure retirement.

4) School infrastructure

$475 million for the construction, renovation and voluntary consolidation of schools, helping them to build or renovate classrooms, laboratories and libraries. Funds to assess current state of school infrastructure, determine additional funding.

5) Learning materials

An expansion of before and after school programs to keep children engaged. The budget provides every child in Michigan with tutoring to catch up and get on the path to long-term success, and resources for districts to develop learning modules for academically at-risk students and economically disadvantaged.

6) Student Safety

Dedicated school safety funds for every student in every school. Funding to hire more school resource officers on campus, create an at-risk student response system that brings together law enforcement, schools and mental health professionals, and establish a commission of school safety.

Governor Whitmer’s Remarks

“Thank you all for taking the time to join us this morning. I want to thank you for your incredible leadership during the most unprecedented times. You have gone through unique circumstances in a century to support our children, and I am truly grateful for your tenacity and perspective more than ever so that we as a state can do everything we can to get our children back on track for long-term success and support the work you do every day.

You know, the school year starts in a few weeks, or for some of you today will be the first normal year many of our children have had in years. And we know students need to be in school – that’s where they do best and that’s so important.

So I just wanted to reach out and tell you that I really appreciate the work that you do. I am proud of the fourth budget I made. I think the latter is one of the best despite all the incredible challenges to get here, this recent bipartisan education budget that I signed makes record investments in our students, in our schools, and in our staff.

As you know, for our students, we have secured $9,150 per student for each student in each district to enhance the classroom experience. We have resources dedicated to mental health and school safety, as well as resources for risk and special education.

And for our schools, you know, I offered 1 billion dollars to build and renovate but of course I had to negotiate with the legislator and finally we got 250 million dollars, which is an import investment . Whether it’s new classrooms, libraries, labs, or sports buildings, HVAC systems aren’t the most exciting things to spend money on, but really are important now more than ever. We are improving water quality in schools.

For our staff, we have $10,000 scholarships for 2,500 future MI educators per year, $9,600 stipends for student educators, we’ve been able to put resources into the Grow Your Own program and put staff on tuition-free paths to certification.

I didn’t come up with these ideas on my own – you helped inform this budget, you helped push it through, and you helped give us advice as we had to make tough decisions and unimaginable circumstances. So I like you. I hope you and your students and educators have a wonderful year ahead. And I’m really excited to see how you are using these resources to best meet the needs of children and the needs of your educators in your different districts.

So I look forward to seeing what best practices you come up with and how we challenge each other and inform continued investment in education. So have a wonderful school year and I’m really glad to be with you this morning.

Absolutely. I appreciate Tina’s question, and I know that’s not unique to Michigan, it’s not unique to schools, is it? I mean that the labor shortage is real in all disciplines. However, we have known this has been looming in this space for a long time with the decline in the number of people entering the profession, as well as retirements looming. We knew this condition was coming and it was only exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. So when I highlighted a few of these expenses that we prioritized in our budget, it was because of the conversation we had with all of you and education experts. The $10,000 scholarships, the $9,600 stipends, the Grow Your Own programs, these are things many of you have suggested, and we’ve been successful in doing that.

I think this is a step towards solving the problem you just gave Tina. I recognize that there are many more that we will have to take. And so, we appreciate your advice and suggestions. More often than not, this led to better results, and we codified your thoughts and put them into practice. So please keep them coming and know that we are enthusiastic partners in making sure we have great people – whether it’s driving the kids to school or serving them lunch or whatever. either in the offices of the administration, and certainly in the classroom. It is critical. And so those are a few steps we’ve taken, but we recognize there’s still work to be done here and we look forward to partnering with you to make sure we’re all successful in getting there. Tina you alluded to it but Stephanie Odea from my team will be sticking around for the rest and I’m just grateful for her help in guiding the work we do inside but I know how important this relationship is close with all of you. That’s why we want to make sure this isn’t just a moment, but an ongoing conversation that we’ve all had and will continue to have.



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