Governor Whitmer signs $4.4 billion school funding bill

Photo courtesy: Piqsels / CC BY 2.0, eflon / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4421 Wednesday, which designates $4.4 billion in federal COVID relief funding to support schools across the state recover from the pandemic.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the type of investment in our schools that will put Michigan students and educators first as they head into the next school year,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our actions today prove that Republicans and Democrats in Lansing can work together to enact budgets that are laser-focused on helping Michigan take full advantage of the unprecedented opportunity we have right now to make transformative investments in our schools that will have positive impacts for generations.”

Over $4 billion from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief will be distributed to power schools’ efforts to get students back on track. $841 million comes from ESSER II funding from December 2020 and $3.3 billion comes from ESSER III funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Funds will be distributed to districts based on their Title I, Part A allocation, meaning that more money will be given to districts that serve students with the highest need.

The money will help target pandemic-related needs like the safe reopening of schools, sustaining a safe school operation, and addressing students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs resulting from the pandemic.

House Bill 4421 represents supplemental funding for the current year budget.

“This federal funding is a game-changing opportunity to invest in our students and schools, from aiding learning recovery, to addressing the educator shortage, to fixing aging school infrastructure,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “This infusion of cash won’t permanently solve decades of underfunding education, but in the short run it can show our communities what’s possible when we properly fund our schools.”

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