Schmidt supports 2020 K-12 education budget

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature on Thursday approved record public school funding for the 2020 fiscal year.

“It is important that we got this done as quickly as possible once an agreement was made,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Today’s action puts us one step closer to getting a budget in place, so our schools can finally have peace of mind about their finances for this school year.”

School Aid will see a record investment of $15.3 billion — an increase of $424 million over last year and the largest investment in the state’s history. Under the measure approved Thursday afternoon, schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil, an increase from the governor’s proposed $120-$180 formula.

Schmidt noted he was especially pleased with the continued commitment to closing our state’s education funding gap.

The “2X” funding formula used in previous budgets, and again this year, allows districts at the minimum foundation allowance to receive two times the amount of the increase that schools at the higher end receive. Most northern and Upper Peninsula schools are at the base amount, so $240 per student is another step in closing the gap between northern Michigan and other parts of the state.

“Several schools across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive $240 per student as part of the 2X formula,” Schmidt said. “Rural Northern Michigan schools are often overlooked and using this formula the last few years has worked to close the funding gap among schools across the state. The measure approved today means more money for classrooms and students in my district to bring them up to the level of other districts.”

House Bill 4242 also increases funding for literacy programs, special education and school safety, while also putting more resources toward career and technical education and skilled trades training.

The legislation will now go before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for final consideration.