COLUMN: Back-to-school season comes with record financial commitment

Categories: Bellino News

The work as a state representative never stops. Even when I’m not in Lansing, I spend most of my time out in the community talking to people about their concerns with state government.

During the summer I hear from parents as they prepare to send their kids back to school. It is not uncommon for them to bring up concerns about the education their kids are receiving and what the state is doing to address school funding.

I’m proud to be able to tell them our current state budget makes the largest K-12 investment in the history of our state. Michigan is investing $14.8 billion in K-12 education this year and the spending plan for next fiscal year is expected to top $15 billion.

I am committed to making sure our children and grandchildren learn the skills they need to build a better future, and we are steadily adding resources to help fulfill that commitment.
We’re working to finalize next year’s state budget, so I wanted to share some details about the plan that passed the House on June 5.

If the plan moves forward as we have proposed, local school districts would see the following estimated increases in school aid funds beginning Oct. 1: Airport Community School District, $497,781; Dundee Community Schools, $308,876; Flat Rock Community Schools, $310,045; Gibraltar School District, $670,597; Huron School District, $467,880; Jefferson School District, $139,072; Keystone Academy, $137,741; Lincoln Consolidated Schools, $646,664; Milan Area Schools, $381,155; Monroe Public Schools, $933,133; Summit Academy, $41,236; Triumph Academy, $132,316; and Van Buren Public Schools, $761,295.

This comes on top of the largest annual per-student increase of the past 15 years, which schools are receiving in our current budget.

I also feel it is important to point out that our commitment to education goes well beyond the basic foundation allowance.

We’re boosting funding for career and technical education to more than $78 million so Michigan students will be better prepared for good careers in high demand fields. This includes increasing the CTE allocation to $75 per student as well as $21 million in equipment grants to make these specialized education programs possible.

Early literacy is also among our top priorities. That’s why we’re proposing a $2.1 million increase to fund additional literacy coaches for our kids. We also plan to continue the $19.9 million to increase instructional time for K-3 students not reading at grade level.

Whether a student plans to attend college or enter the job market right after graduation, all of our kids deserve a chance to succeed. I’m confident the investments we’re making now will leave our schools better equipped than ever before to deliver results.

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State Rep. Joe Bellino is serving his second term in the Michigan House representing the 17th District, which covers portions of Wayne and Monroe counties, including the cities of Monroe, Flat Rock and Rockwood, the townships of Ash, Berlin, Exeter, Frenchtown, London and Sumpter, as well as a portion of Monroe Township.