State Sarah Lightner and the Michigan House, in a wide bipartisan vote, this week approved a budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year with record-high investments in K-12 students.
Lightner, of Springport, said the plan invests more in every student while finally and fully eliminating the funding gap between districts, one of her longtime goals.
“School funding should be equal for every single Michigan student, whether they live in a small, rural town or an affluent city,” Lightner said. “I have long fought for equal support for our kids, and we’ve been moving closer with each year. With this budget, I am proud to say we’ve fixed the problem. No longer will students and schools in our community be short-changed when it comes to their educations.”
The plan dedicates $16.7 billion to the school aid fund – up nearly 8 percent overall from the current year. All Michigan schools will receive $8,700 per student. This provides an additional $589 per student (up 7 percent) for districts currently at the minimum foundation allowance, and an additional $171 per student (up 2 percent) for schools now at the maximum guaranteed foundation allowance.
Other highlights of the plan include:
- Federal COVID relief funding with equalization payments to ensure every school gets at least $1,093 in additional funding per student. More than $4 billion in federal COVID relief for schools was approved overall today, in addition to the money in the regular school aid fund for next fiscal year.
- The Great Start Readiness Program receives an additional investment of $168 million to significantly increase the amount of funding per child while also adding thousands of new openings statewide.
- More resources are invested in special education, career and tech equipment, and many other initiatives to help give every student a better chance to thrive.
- A one-time $560 million investment into the school retirement system will help ensure promised benefits get paid while freeing up money for the classroom in future years.
The funding measure now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
“The measure approved by the House is a solid compromise that provides both certainty for private property owners across the state and flexibility for local municipalities that deserve to have some control over the planning and zoning of their communities.
State Rep. Sarah Lightner today testified before the House Elections and Ethics Committee in support of her plan to prevent private special interest groups from having undue influence on Michigan elections.