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Groups Speak Out in Support of Gov. Whitmer's Education Budget

Posted at 11:16 AM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 11:19:35-05

The School Finance Research Collaborative applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for calling for a new school funding approach that will help meet the unique needs of all Michigan students.

“We applaud Gov. Whitmer for calling for a new, fairer school funding approach that will help meet the needs of all Michigan students,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director. “We look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer on a new funding method that provides all students the same opportunity to get a high-quality education and compete for jobs.”

Whitmer’s education budget plan calls for a boost in per-pupil funding, and additional funding for special education, at-risk students and Career and Technical Education programs.

“I applaud Gov. Whitmer’s call for a new school funding approach, including greater funding for Career and Technical Education programs,” said Doug Maibach, Chairman of Barton Malow Enterprises, and a School Finance Research Collaborative member. “It’s time for a new, fairer school funding approach that helps us fill Michigan’s talent gap.”

“I support Gov. Whitmer’s call for a new school funding approach that helps prepare all students for the modern workforce,” said Jim Stapleton, a Detroit-area businessman and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “Michigan is long overdue for a new school funding approach that helps provide students with in-demand skills for good-paying jobs. That is a concept everyone, irrespective of party affiliation, can and should support."

“School funding is not a Republican issue or Democratic issue,” said Rick Johnson, former Michigan House Speaker, and a School Finance Research Collaborative member. “It’s a Michigan issue, and I applaud Gov. Whitmer for laying the groundwork for a new approach that helps all students achieve and succeed.”

“This child-centered budget will enable our members to provide resources for students while enabling local school boards and their professional educators to make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of the children under their care,” Middle Cities Education Association Executive Director Ray Telman said. “Gov. Whitmer’s budget establishes a new high-water mark for our children, their schools and our state.”

Telman says the budget is also focused on proven school finance principles and key findings as outlined in the State of Michigan’s Education Finance Study, commissioned under former Gov. Rick Snyder, and the state’s School Finance Research Collaborative, a broad-based school finance research study of Michigan’s education system, of which the Middle Cities Education Association is a member.

“Prioritizing resources for districts with more at-risk children is a critical touchstone of the governor’s budget – something that research of schools across the United States indicates is critical for continued educational success,” Telman said. “Gov. Whitmer said she would prioritize our K-12 schools in her first State of the State address in February and this budget delivers on that promise for our children. We believe this overall budget reflects a renewal of the State of Michigan’s commitment to our system of education and the students who benefit from it.”

MEA President Paula Herbart also shared the following on her thought's on the Governor's Education budget:

“Research is clear – from the School Finance Research Collaborative to MSU’s recent study – that we can’t keep shortchanging our students and expect better results. Gov. Whitmer’s proposal to invest an additional $500 million in K-12 schools is a huge step toward addressing this issue that’s been developing for decades.

“That same research has shown that it doesn’t cost the same amount of money to educate every student, and this budget proposal reflects that reality. Additional funding for at-risk, special education and career/technical education puts additional funds where they’re needed most to help all students achieve.

“Tripling the number of literacy coaches is a critical step in helping educators enhance their skills and ensure that every student becomes a strong reader for life. Additional training and resources to help with literacy must continue to be a focus for policymakers as we go forward.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the details in the budget announcement tomorrow and working with Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature to meet the needs of all students and educators. Both deserve the commitment of state policymakers to help ensure success, and this budget proposal will help to meet those critical needs.”