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Rep. O’Malley votes to send Legislature’s education restart plan to governor
RELEASE|August 17, 2020
Contact: Jack O'Malley

Local input, monthly review of process creates needed safeguards

State Rep. Jack O’Malley, a member of the House Education Committee, today voted to approve a bipartisan agreement to get K-12 students safely back to school this fall.

The plan will allow school districts to determine the best course of action for their students. This could include online, in person or hybrid instruction based on consultations with local health departments.

O’Malley praised the aspect of local control within the legislation.

“COVID-19 has impacted different areas of our state differently. Northern Michigan has not seen the same level of cases that southeast Michigan has, so a one-size-fits-all approach coming from Lansing on to how our schools operate this fall doesn’t make sense,” said O’Malley, of Lake Ann. “This plan is going to allow districts to use the facts they have on the ground and local medical experts to make an informed decision on how to proceed.”

O’Malley also underscored other key elements of the proposal. Parents will have a vital say in the process and school boards will be required to reexamine and recertify instruction plans at monthly board meetings for the duration of the 2020-21 school year.

Additionally, local benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track. Younger students are a key component as they tend to have more success within a classroom setting. If districts determine it is safe to offer in-person learning, they are encouraged – but not required – to prioritize in-person instruction to K-5 students.

As the coming school year will pose significant additional costs to school districts as they work to impose new safety standards and innovative teaching methods, O’Malley and the Legislature previously dedicated a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to Michigan schools, including:

  • $350 per student across the board, ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate children.
  • More than $50 million in hazard pay for educators who have been flexible and innovative in the face of unprecedented change. 
  • $18 million for safety measures and local benchmark assessments to ensure kids stay on track with learning. 

The education restart plan now advances to the governor’s desk for consideration.

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