Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, Wednesday joined the Michigan House of Representatives in voting for final approval of the state K-12 schools budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1st.
Glenn, who serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and Department of Education, succeeded in fighting to stop any reduction in state education funding. She also worked to ensure every current program is protected and that state spending for all districts statewide will increase by $65 per pupil.
“From day one, my top goal was to protect funding for students in Bay and Midland counties,” Glenn said. “I’m pleased to join lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in moving this budget forward, which puts our children’s needs first and ensures they’ll receive the safe, quality education they deserve.”
The new state budget will dedicate $15.5 billion to K-12 schools, exceeding the $15.3 billion in the current fiscal year’s budget. Michigan’s minimum per-pupil “foundation allowance” will remain steady at a record-high $8,111, with an additional one-time bonus investment expected to equal about $65 per student, an overall boost of about $95 million.
Glenn said other highlights of the plan include:
● A continued commitment to literacy programs, since learning to read at an early age is a building block for future success.
● Making student mental health a priority, given the many challenges and changes they’ve endured this year. The plan invests in school-based health centers and programs at the Intermediate School District level.
● Funding for districts to identify students who need additional help and parents who need help finding childcare.
● Resources for students engaged in virtual learning.
● Ensuring no loss of funding for vital programs like Career & Technical Education to address the shortage of skilled trades workers, special education, STEM competitions, and First Robotics.
● Protecting local control, ensuring school districts are empowered to do what is best for their particular community’s families and young people.
● Guaranteeing financial stability for school districts that are growing, ensuring they receive the full foundation amount for every student.
The K-12 budget follows enactment last month of the Return to Learn plan, which empowered local school districts – in consultation with local health departments – to decide what’s best for their communities and students when it comes to COVID prevention and learning methods.
Glenn, a grandmother of several school aged children, was instrumental in that legislation, having introduced House Bill 5913, a key element of the plan, which ensured school districts would continue to receive the same per-pupil funding regardless of whether parents choose to enroll their children to attend in-classroom learning or remote education online.
This part of the package has proven to be especially useful, with many schools across the state taking advantage of at-home learning opportunities. Roughly one-fifth of all students in Midland Public Schools, for example, have enrolled this fall for remote learning.
In addition, the education plan invests $1 billion more in K-12 schools this academic year than it did in the 2016-17 academic year – even though the number of students enrolled in public schools has declined statewide. Roughly a quarter of the entire annual state budget is devoted to K-12 education.
Other key initiatives Glenn personally succeeded in fighting to include in the new budget are:
● $250,000 for the Children’s Choice Initiative, a literacy program based on the success of the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Bay City.
● More than $12 million in funding for dam safety.
● $15 million for disaster relief for Midland and Gladwin counties following the Edenville Dam collapse in May.
● $15.5 million increased funding for Centers for Independent Living.
Rep. Glenn says that Michigan motorists need more tax relief than the proposed three-month federal gas tax suspension would provide, noting that the Michigan Legislature has approved three tax relief plans this year, and that the Governor has vetoed every one.