Whitmer signs $4.4B extra spending bill for K-12 schools

Michigan

*Correction: A previous version of this article indicated the bill signed Wednesday the $17.1 billion school budget; that was incorrect. While the budget for next year will soon be signed into law, it is not what Whitmer signed Wednesday. Rather, she signed a bill appropriating $4.4 billion in federal coronavirus spending.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday morning signed into a law a spending plan that sends more money to K-12 schools for the current fiscal year.

The signing was held at Ojibwa Elementary School in Macomb Township, north of Detroit.

House Bill 4421 distributes some $4.4 billion to schools from federal emergency relief, the governor’s office said in a release. That money will be distributed based on student need.

“It is a bipartisan effort and it is really exciting because we need to take the politics out of a lot of things, but especially the education of our kids,” Whitmer said. “This is about critical investment in our kids, in our teachers, in our parapros, in administration, in all of the different pieces that make public education work for our children.”

Whitmer, a Democrat, expects to soon sign the K-12 budget for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. The Republican-led Michigan Legislature last week approved the $17.1 billion budget. Representing a spending increase of 10%, it sends more money to Detroit and charter schools to wipe out the per-pupil funding gap, expands state-funded preschool to every 4-year-old in the state, pays to hire more school nurses and counselors and directs millions to support students who need extra help reading, the Associated Press reported.

“Each of these investments in our kids and schools will help us continue our economic jump-start,” Whitmer said. “We will stay laser-focused on emerging from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

She also praised districts and teachers for going above and beyond during the pandemic to make sure kids were fed and that their education continued.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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