Statement from The Education Trust-Midwest on School Aid Fund Revenue Estimate

New projections for the budget year beginning on October 1 confirm that the state will have significant shortfalls, even as estimates have improved since May. Revised budget numbers were provided by executive and legislative officials on Monday during a consensus revenue estimating conference.

Below is the statement issued by Amber Arellano, Executive Director, The Education Trust-Midwest:

“State budget projections reinforced what our leaders expected: that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Michigan’s main sources of school funding to plunge.

“While the declining revenue will necessitate hard fiscal decisions, one thing is certain: we cannot let the academic success and opportunity to learn of all of Michigan’s children to similarly plunge. We are calling on Congress and Michigan legislators to invest in the future of our children by prioritizing and protecting education funding, first and foremost.  At the federal level, this includes the swift passage of a federal stimulus package to fully support state education budgets.  At the state level, it includes state policymakers using general state budget funds to further support public education at this critical time of need for public schools.

“Even before the widespread economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan was among America’s most inequitable and unfair states for school funding. This has contributed to devastating opportunity and achievement gaps for our state’s most vulnerable children.

“We cannot afford to continue down this troubling path.

“If cuts to the education budget cannot be avoided, Michigan legislators should shield our most vulnerable students and under-resourced districts from the worst of budget cuts, especially low-income children, English learners and students with disabilities. Those children have already been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Appropriate funding alone is not enough. Meeting the learning needs of every student can only be done by effective, well-supported classroom educators and the implementation of best practices.

Greater transparency for how dollars are spent and accountability to ensure that funds earmarked for vulnerable students reach their classrooms are critical for informing future decision-making at the school, district and state level.

“The time is now to ensure all Michigan’s students have an opportunity to succeed.”

Sign the Pledge: Show your support for better school funding

Budgets reflect priorities, so what does Michigan school funding say about our values?  Today, Michigan is one of the bottom five states nationwide for equitable school funding. We are failing to provide equal opportunity for student success.

The impact of this fundamental unfairness falls hardest on students with the greatest needs: those from low-income families, new English speakers, students with disabilities and those attending schools that are isolated, or are in areas with high concentrations of poverty or low property wealth.

Our future as a state rests on the shoulders of our children and our children deserve better.

For their bright future and ours, Michigan must move to a fair and equitable system for funding our schools. And schools, districts and the state should be accountable and transparent in their spending.

Click here to sign the pledge!

Join the Opportunity for All Campaign

The Education Trust-Midwest and a broad cross-section of business, civil rights and civic leaders who support education equity invite you to join a new campaign — Opportunity for All — to elevate the importance of equity of opportunity for all students in Michigan’s public education system and state decision-making.

Will you join the Call to Action? Your support means that you will receive regular updates in the effort to ensure Opportunity for All. Join the effort here.

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@EdTrustMidwest: ICYMI: @ArellanoTweets talks with @ChristyTV from @DPTVOneDetroit about meeting all students' needs as we begin an historic return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Opp4All #Equity #returntolearn