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Lawmakers, Whitmer announce deal to finalize state budget

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 7:50 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Top lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration have announced a deal to finalize the next state budget.

They had waited to work out spending plans for state departments and funding for universities, community colleges and local governments after enacting a pre-K through 12th grade education budget in the summer.

The Republican-led Legislature is expected to vote next week, about a week before the Sept. 30 deadline. Details of the agreement were not immediately released Wednesday.

The pending legislation will cover all non-school spending, including social services, public health, roads and environmental protection from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022.

The $17.1 billion K-12 education budget signed in mid-July provides schools with a 10% increase in overall funding.

Districts and charter schools will receive $8,700 in base per-student state aid, not including at least $1,093 more per pupil from $4 billion of federal funding included in the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in March.

The plan would eliminate a funding gap among school districts -- a milestone 27 years after Michigan overhauled the financing of public education with Proposal A. School funding currently differs for affluent and rural districts.

The budget includes an additional $723 million to remove the state funding gap between affluent and low-income districts. The budget also includes an additional $168 million to expand the Great Start Readiness Program, which long has been a goal for Whitmer.

Other highlights of the Michigan school budget include:

  • $240 million over three years for districts with higher need to hire more counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers.
  • $135 million over three years to incentivize schools to adopt year-round academic calendars by paying for HVAC improvements and air conditioning.
  • $74.2 million in additional special education funding.
  • $17 million for additional school-based mental health services for students.
  • $11.5 million for schools to conduct baseline tests for students to determine their levels of learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $2.4 million to support Flint students affected by the Flint water crisis.

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