Gov Whitmer signs landmark $4.4 billion education bill

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law House Bill 4421 to appropriate $4.4 billion in federal COVID relief funding to support schools statewide recover from COVID-19.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the type of investment in our schools that will put Michigan students and educators first as they head into the next school year,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Our actions today prove that Republicans and Democrats in Lansing can work together to enact budgets that are laser-focused on helping Michigan take full advantage of the unprecedented opportunity we have right now to make transformative investments in our schools that will have positive impacts for generations.”

The bipartisan supplemental bill distributes over $4 billion from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER). About $841 million comes from ESSER II funding from former President Donald Trump’s stimulus package in 2020, while $3.3 billion comes funding from President Biden’s stimulus plan.

“This is a significant budget supporting those who invest in the lives of our young people,” bill sponsor Rep. Brad Paquette, R-Niles, said in a statement. “The bipartisan work done here is just the first step towards even more future transformational positive change within our education system.”

The ESSER funds will be distributed to districts based on their Title I, Part A allocation – which means more money will get to communities that serve students with the highest need. The funds help meet needs to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding represents supplemental funding for the current year’s budget. Legislation for the school aid budget for the next fiscal year beginning October 1 is currently being reviewed.

“As school leaders work with parents and stakeholders to create plans for a return to school, they will need additional resources to ensure each child can experience success. With these vital funds, recovery plans have the resources to provide the academic, physical, mental, emotional, and community support students need to thrive,” Kevin Polston, superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools and chair of the Student Recovery Advisory Council said in a statement.

“The MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery gave Michigan’s school leaders and policy makers the game plan, now they will also have the resources to get the job done. We are grateful to Governor Whitmer and the bipartisan legislators who came together to get these crucial federal recovery dollars into our schools. Now we can all get to work putting the needs of Michigan’s kids first.”

This article was originally posted on Gov Whitmer signs landmark $4.4 billion education bill

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