Theis: New budget brings more for schools

FY 2021 budget also invests in jobs, public safety, health care

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday finalized a bipartisan fiscal year 2021 budget that is balanced, on time, and increases state financial support for Michigan’s K-12 schools.

“Michigan’s educators, students and parents have endured some of the most difficult circumstances in dealing with COVID-19,” said Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who chairs the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. “Despite the challenges and uncertainty, everyone has come together to adapt to this new normal to ensure schoolchildren receive the quality education they deserve, no matter where they are learning. I am proud that the leaders were able to join together, with bipartisan support, to approve the new budget that includes more for schools, especially for those that are growing.”

Theis successfully fought for a $66 million appropriation in Senate Bill 927, which is the omnibus education budget, for schools with growing attendance. The education budget also includes a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools, in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the prior FY 2020 budget. It also includes $37 million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.

Also approved was House Bill 5396, the general omnibus budget, which protects local revenue sharing to support local police departments, fire departments, paramedics and first responders, and provides $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers and maintain trooper strength to help keep communities safe.

The budget also fully funds the 2015 plan to help fix the state’s roads, and it includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, $26 million for the Going Pro program to help train workers, $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help people complete an associate degree or skills certificate, $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and $35 million into the state’s rainy day fund.

“The state’s response to the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on our economy and the state’s budget,” Theis said. “But thanks to federal support from the Trump administration and because of smart budgeting over the previous decade, we were able to eliminate the current budget deficit while increasing funding for our shared priorities. I appreciate that lawmakers were able to put Michiganders first in approving this bipartisan plan.”

The budget bills now go to the governor for signing.

Michigan’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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