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Fiscal year 2021 state budget priorities involve education

The plan includes a funding increase per student.
Education in Michigan's schools. (MGN Image with WLUC Edits in Canva)
Education in Michigan's schools. (MGN Image with WLUC Edits in Canva)(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:46 PM EDT
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The state legislature made public Wednesday the Fiscal Year 2021 budget that will increase educational funding. For school administrators in the UP -- that spelled relief.

“You know we were holding our breath for the worst. We were expecting some sort of cut this year or maybe a major cut," said Bryan DeAugustine, Superintendent of the N.I.C.E School District.

“We had prepared for a $700 cut per student," said Sandra Petrovich, Superintendent of Gwinn Area Public Schools.

No cuts for this year, as the Michigan Legislature and Governor Whitmer’s Administration have put in place a plan that highlights a School Aid Fund of about $15.5 billion for K-through-12 schools.

The big state budget will include a funding increase per pupil.

“The potential for the additional $65 per student will also be helpful," DeAugustine said.

“And (helpful for) of course the extra expenses incurred by all districts with Covid preparedness and safety measures which require extra funding,” said Petrovich.

It’s a balancing act of a budget that focuses overall on economic recovery in the state; emphasizing education’s role in that recovery by securing funding and resources for the classroom environment -- in-person or virtual.

“Extra Chromebooks you know that require extra funding. So every single dollar to any district especially the Gwinn schools is really important," Petrovich said.

DeAugustine emphasized the symbiosis between education and the economy.

“I think that’s one of the things that’s come out of this as well. Is that I think that our society in the United States realizes how important schools are outside of just teaching and learning and having something for our young people to do. It’s part of our economic driver,” he said.

The state budget bills were passed by the legislature and set to be reviewed and signed by Governor Whitmer before the fiscal year begins on October 1.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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