Whitmer announces help for teachers and staff in the form of grants

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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STATE, Mich. (WJRT)(10/27/20) -Brianne Wilson uses the white board behind her to help teach German to her students in the Swartz Creek school district.

It was purchased by a family member through an Amazon wish list account Wilson created to help pay for the additional out of pocket expenses racked up since the start of the pandemic.

“It feels so uncomfortable because I know some the people that want to help me out they’re struggling themselves. And they’ve seen their business decline because of the pandemic,” said Swartz Creek teacher, Brianne Wilson.

Wilson, other educators and support staff can now get some of that money back-- thanks to a grant program created by the state that will provide financial support for extra hours and cost racked up due to the suspension of in-person learning this past Spring. $500 for teachers and $250 for support staff.

“All of our educational professionals, they are working harder than they’ve ever worked,” said State Representative, Sheryl Kennedy 48th district.

As an educator for 30 years-- State Representative Sheryl Kennedy knows first hand the financial burden teachers face when trying to make sure their students have the all of the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. Something made even more difficult during the pandemic.

“And our hearts are always with the children and their families and we want to do everything we can to support them and now that I’m a legislature its make me feel good that we are least doing something to acknowledge and say we know how you’re giving up of your own family time, of your own free time. You didn’t give up any off time last year because we were preparing for this year,” Kennedy said.

“I don’t think any teacher is in a position to turn down $500,” Wilson said.

But Wilson says she wishes the state would do more. Especially now.

“I’m grateful that it exists and I will happily accept it. That being the case our state doesn’t properly fund education and a one time check to teachers doesn’t change the fact the state poisoned our kids water and we still have students dealing with the fallout from that,” Wilson said.

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