Includes Theis’ $155 million for new reading scholarship program
LANSING, Mich. – The Senate on Wednesday approved the fiscal year 2022 School Aid Budget, providing school districts certainty as they prepare budgets for the next school year.
As part of the Senate passed budget, Sen. Lana Theis fought for and championed the inclusion of a $155 million reading scholarship program to support schoolchildren between kindergarten and fifth grade who are considered less than proficient in reading. The program would provide up to $1,000 for eligible students for reading materials, literacy programs, and tutoring services.
“Over the course of the past year, COVID-19 and school shutdowns have devastated our children’s education,” said Theis, R-Brighton, who chairs the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. “This lack of in-person learning has had a detrimental impact on thousands of students in numerous subjects, especially in reading. Considering this immense learning loss and its potential long-term impact, this program will empower parents to take control of their children’s education with resources to improve their access to quality learning materials and support to get students back on track as proficient readers.”
As approved by the Senate, the School Aid Budget also features a revised, equalized funding formula, which Theis says is monumental for districts in Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Equalizing the school funding formula will help over 95% of schools throughout the 22nd Senate District.
“This is an historic moment in our state as schools strive to bounce back from a year lost to COVID-19 and ineffective distance learning,” said Theis. “Today we approved an historic budget to meet the challenge. We’ve invested significantly into our classrooms and eliminated the funding gap that has impacted so many schools in Livingston and Washtenaw counties. We’re also investing in our children’s mental health and making sure our school buildings are in the best shape possible.”
Under the approved spending plan, the current state minimum of $8,111 will now increase to $8,700 for the 2021-2022 school year – an increase of nearly $600 per student for many. Every school in Livingston County and most schools in Washtenaw County currently receive the state minimum, and under the Senate passed plan the districts in the 22nd Senate District will see the following increases:
- Brighton Area Schools $4,836,662
- Fowlerville Community Schools $1,569,102
- Hartland Consolidated Schools $3,151,839
- Howell Public Schools $3,973,005
- Pinckney Community Schools $1,396,548
- Charyl Stockwell Academy $663,874
- Chelsea School District $1,328,090
- Dexter Community School District $1,311,791
- Manchester Community Schools $500,208
House Bill 4411 now returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence.