Press Release

Statement by Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest, on the passage of School Aid budget for fiscal year 2021-22.

“We have been pleased in the last few weeks to see elected leaders from both sides of the aisle put aside their political differences to craft a budget for Michigan students and schools. The recently-passed fiscal year 2021-22 budget would deliver on the promise of an on-time budget and allocates more than $17 billion for public education in Michigan.

“In many ways, this budget makes progress for Michigan’s underserved students. English learners will see funding nearly double, as will support for young children with disabilities. Additional investments in special education, physical and mental health services and programs intended to improve early literacy have been funded. By continuing benchmark assessments for K-8 students and screening many early learners for characteristics of dyslexia will help monitor student learning and identify additional learning needs.

“Importantly, this budget will achieve the aims of Proposal A, passed nearly 30 years ago, and eliminate the remaining gap in funding between school districts. Indeed, next year Michigan schools and districts will receive $8,700 per pupil in base funding.

“However, low-income students were not appropriately prioritized in this budget and would receive only about 10 percent of the additional funding that research concludes is needed to provide fair and meaningful access to opportunity and support to succeed.

“Now, we must finally double down on funding equity and set an ambitious goal for meeting the learning needs of every student before today’s students graduate high school. Michigan leaders should commit to achieving funding equity within a decade. Elected leaders should make a sustainable down payment toward funding students based on learning needs. We simply cannot afford to wait another three decades to achieve this critical goal.”