Gov. Whitmer to propose $507M boost in K-12 spending

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will propose a $507 million increase in state K-12 classroom spending in her first budget, including a $180 boost to the minimum per-student grant and substantial funding hikes to teach Michigan's low-income, vocational and special education students, according to an overview of the plan obtained by The Associated Press

The Democrat also was expected Tuesday to call for new "weighted" formula to factor in higher costs for certain students. The plan includes $235 million in additional base aid — a 2.5 percent bump — along with $120 million more for special education, an extra $102 million for economically disadvantaged and other at-risk students, and $50 million more for career and technical education students.

Whitmer's administration is billing it as the largest increase in classroom spending in 18 years, if state payments for retirement costs are not counted.

Whitmer also will propose tripling the number of literacy coaches statewide from 93 to 279. She wants to drop a requirement that county-level districts split half of the cost, and instead have the state fund them entirely. The coaches have been hired in recent years to help local districts and charter schools in advance of a law that, starting next academic year, requires third-graders to be held back if they lag in reading.

The minimum per-student allowance — which most districts receive, including charters — would increase from $7, 871 to $8,051, a $180 increase. Districts at the higher end would get $8,529, or $120 more than the current $8,409 allotment.

The increased funding for at-risk and vocational students would be distributed as a multiplier on top of the base grant, while existing money would be apportioned as it is under current law. The approach reflects Whitmer's goal to base funding on the actual cost to educate students with different needs. It's also an initial step toward phasing in recommendations from the School Finance Research Collaborative, a group of education, business and civic leaders that contends the current system is broken.

Whitmer's proposed boost spending for at-risk students, to $619 million — a 20 percent increase — would be the third big spike in five years. The funds help schools provide additional supports, such as tutoring and counseling, to low-income and other disadvantaged students who account for half of Michigan's 1.5 million students. The funding would equate to $894 per at-risk student, up from about $720.

Overall spending on career and tech education, or CTE, would more than double to $109 million. Schools now get $25 for each ninth- through 12th-grader enrolled and another $25 for each student learning "critical skills." Districts could qualify for $487 per CTE student under Whitmer's budget, according to a document summarizing her new proposed funding formula.

Whitmer has been emphasizing the need to better prepare people to enter the workforce.

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  • J.B.

    There goes your supposed “road” money…
    But never fear, There are plenty more taxpayer sheep to shear here in the old Michigan DD ranch.
    Just gotta leave that little bit of wool over the eyes,
    It always fools em into thinking they actually get a fur coat out of the deal.
    Keeps the herd happy and the free wool a flowing! ;)

  • Broken

    You gotta be kidding me!!! “The funds help schools provide additional supports, such as tutoring and counseling, to low-income and other disadvantaged students who account for half of Michigan’s 1.5 million students.” HALF!?!?! 750K!?!?! Just classify ALL 1.5 million as “special needs” and get it over with!

    Where’s this money coming from? Probably property tax! I can’t even begin to gather the thoughts to rebut what’s in this “proposal”! So, I’ll pretend I’m one of Michigan’s one percent and put the “burden of comment” on the rest of you!

  • C

    For an intelligent individual, she’s as dumb as a three week old beagle. The real reason for kids’ poor performance in schools is not the schools themselves. The majority of the problem very often lies in the sixteen or so hours that the students spend after school and at home. If the role models for the students are indifferent about education, it’s only natural that the kids will be, too. And, throwing more money at schools won’t change the attitudes of anyone.

    • J.B.

      “And, throwing more money at schools won’t change the attitudes of anyone.”
      Sure it will….
      It will convince the parents of these earned income credit kids “who most likely pay NO taxes whatsoever”
      To reliably vote for more of “your” tax money to fix “their” problems…every single time.
      The D’s “free sH1t 4 everyone” campaign platform is really hard to stop once it gets rolling.

  • Augster

    The AFT and NEA need funds to get the Democrats elected next year. They’d like to get per- candidate funding up 13% and have a special fund for “at risk” politicians. You’re not a Democrat? Well, you ARE a supporter.

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