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Schools prepare to spend federal aid

On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers and Governor Whitmer reached an agreement on how to allocate nearly $4.4 billion in federal help.
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Money(WLUC)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 3:14 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan schools are planning how to spend billions in federal aid.

On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer reached an agreement on how to allocate nearly $4.4 billion in federal help.

Federal money was approved in March and last December, but months of debate has led to a delay in that money getting to schools.

“It feels like sometimes our legislators, at the state level, feel like they should be patted on the back for something they should have done months ago,” said Bryan DeAugustine, NICE Community Schools Superintendent.

Still, DeAugustine says the federal assistance will help. He estimates NICE will receive $750,000.

“That will help fill some holes in the budget where we spent down our general fund balance,” said DeAugustine. “Kind of like our savings account.”

DeAugustine says how much each district receives will be based on the percentage of low-income families. Some of the funding does have limitations – about 75 percent can be used to offset costs during COVID.

Escanaba Area Public Schools expects to receive a couple million dollars in aid and plans to use some of it to keep staff that was hired during the pandemic.

“Folks that help kids with mental or emotional issues that they may experienced through COVID,” said Coby Fletcher, Escanaba Area Public Schools Superintendent.

Fletcher says other funding will be used for school infrastructure and technology. For the funding to be dispersed, the money still needs be approved by the house and then signed by Governor Whitmer.

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