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Gov. Whitmer signs education budget bill with big spending increases

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) (seated) holds the $19.6 billion education budget bill she just signed

Michigan will see an increase in per-student funding and school infrastructure investment from the state education spending bill signed into law Thursday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer signed the $19.6 billion spending bill during a ceremony at Mott Community College in Flint.

The governor suggested the increase in education spending will help students who have fallen behind in recent years.

“They need our help to get back on long-term success,” said Whitmer. “That’s why this budget makes record per-pupil state investment to improve the in-class learning experience.”

The budget also includes significant investment in teacher recruitment and school safety.

Steven Tunnicliff is the superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District. He said this budget represents a turning point.

“It’s a budget that recognizes the need to invest in public education across Michigan and to do so thoughtfully with targeted funding that prioritizes the most immediate and critical needs of our children,” said Tunnicliff.

The education budget includes funds to open 100 more school-based health centers. Advocates said this will increase the access to mental health services for Michigan children.

“The signing of this budget is a first step to moving many kids off the waitlist for care, and toward a brighter future,” said Debbie Brinson, executive director of the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan.

Whitmer stressed that this is a bipartisan spending plan with support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. 

Here's the education budget by the numbers, according to the governor's office:

  • $9,150 per-pupil funding for every student, in every public school district — the highest amount ever in the state budget. 
  • $214 per-pupil mental health and school safety funding for every student, in every public school district. 
  • 1,300 more free preschool slots in the Great Start Readiness Program. 
  • $250 million for school infrastructure. 
  • $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future Michigan educators every year. 
  • Additional funding to meet students’ individual needs for all of the nearly 200,000 special education and 710,000 at-risk students. 
Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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