LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday finalized a fiscal year 2021 K-12 budget plan that increases funding for students and other crucial needs as schools continue to operate during the pandemic.
“Our budget recognizes the challenges students, parents and teachers are facing in this unprecedented school year. Even as we faced a budget shortfall, we have increased funding for K-12 schools,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, who chairs the Senate Appropriations K-12 Subcommittee. “Times are tough, but responsible budgeting that prioritizes funding for schools and the needs of Michigan students and teachers will get us through them as we look toward the future.”
Senate Bill 927 is an education omnibus budget featuring a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction already made in separate legislation to balance the FY 2020 budget. It also includes an additional $66 million for growing schools, $3 million more for early childhood literacy and $2 million to provide funding to the state’s “10 cents a meal” program, which works to ensure more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables are included in students’ meals.
The bill also includes $37 million for mental health support to assist students with the difficulties associated with the drastic adjustments to learning and their daily lives. Included in the $37 million is an increase of over $9 million for school-based health clinics. These clinics provide essential services and work to improve the mental health of Michigan students — which Schmidt says is paramount during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many students will need additional support services during these trying times as a result of this virus,” Schmidt said. “I was happy to support this bipartisan agreement that recognizes the needs of Michigan’s students and teachers as we continue to navigate these difficult times.”
SB 927 now heads to the governor for consideration. Michigan’s 2021 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
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Photo caption: Assistant Senate Majority Leader Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, discusses the budget with Senate Appropriations Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, on the Senate floor as negotiations were being finalized Wednesday afternoon.