Michigan school leaders object to Republican COVID-19 education plan

School administrators are objecting to the Michigan Republican COVID-19 relief and recovery plan.
School administrators are objecting to the Michigan Republican COVID-19 relief and recovery plan.(WCJB)
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 12:38 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A group of Southeast Michigan school administrators strongly objects to a Republican plan that would hold up additional funding to their districts unless Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives up control of closing schools.

The K-12 Alliance of Michigan says the Republican plan makes students “political pawns” in a disagreement over control of epidemic authority. The alliance believes Republicans have no right to hold up federal funding for political gain.

“Congress worked tirelessly to pass COVID-19 relief funding for schools and intentionally left no discretion to the states on how it is to be used. The Michigan Legislature has only one job as it relates to this funding: allocate it,” said Robert McCann, executive director of the K-12 Alliance.

Republicans, who control the Michigan Legislature, unveiled a $3.5 billion COVID-19 relief and recovery plan on Wednesday. Part of the plan includes passing along $2.1 billion for schools to support testing aimed at determining the level of learning loss among students and additional educational programs to help students catch up.

However, Republicans say their plan is contingent on Whitmer ceding control of closing schools and canceling athletic events to local health departments around Michigan. They would have to rely on clear metrics to decide when to close or reopen schools.

McCann called the Republican proposal “immoral and fundamentally unacceptable.”

“Students, teachers and staff have faced far too much during this pandemic to now have to worry about becoming pawns in a grossly miscalculated political stunt,” McCann said. “House Republicans need to move aside and perform the simple task of allocating much-needed COVID relief funding to schools -- many of which have already been offering in-person learning or will be soon -- so that they can get to work on the recovery efforts of our students.”

The K-12 Alliance is comprised of every public school superintendent from Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties. Their districts have a combined 580,000 students.

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