This month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer kept her promise to fully fund Michigan’s community schools by signing a historic education budget. The $17.1 billion budget for pre-K through 12th grade is an increase of $1.6 billion over the prior year budget.
The budget also eliminates funding gaps by guaranteeing that all schools will receive the same amount of funding per pupil. This equity has not happened even though it was a goal of Proposal A that passed in 1994. Under the new budget, each district will receive $8,700 per pupil.
In a press release, Governor Whitmer noted, “As we look to the next school year and beyond, we know that every student deserves to be funded at the same level to ensure an equal opportunity to succeed, and I am proud to say that we are able to do that today. The funding provided to our schools today marks the end of a 27-year journey to close the gap between our districts. This equalized funding will improve the quality of educational opportunities for schools and students across the state and set a solid foundation for which to build our future.”
In the legislature, the budget passed by wide margins in both the State Senate and State House. In the Senate the bill passed 33-1 with two members not voting. The only Senator to vote no on this historic funding was Senator Tom Barrett. In the House, the bill passed 106-3 with Representatives Steve Carra, Steve Johnson and John Reilly.
The legislature did not pass a general fund budget for the coming year despite the fact that Republicans in the past have called for budgets to be passed by July 1. Michigan’s fiscal year begins on October 1 meaning the true deadline is September 30.