School Officials Emphasize Urgent Need for Budget Certainty from Lansing
During a “State of Michigan Schools” roundtable today, Superintendents representing nearly 500,000 Michigan students called on Lansing to finish its work in allocating federal stimulus dollars for schools and highlighted the urgent need to pass a 2021–22 School Aid Budget by June 1.
“Educators are grateful for the support lawmakers in Lansing and Washington have continued to provide our schools throughout this pandemic, but there remains an urgent need for lawmakers in Lansing to allocate the remainder of those funds and, just as importantly, pass a 2021–2022 School Aid Budget by June 1st so that we can get to work planning for the upcoming school year and supporting our students’ ongoing recovery,” said Wayne RESA Superintendent Dr. Randy Liepa. “Our Superintendents are working around the clock to put in place the best services possible for their students and getting a budget done by June 1 will give them time to finalize those plans with their school boards, hire the teachers and support staff they’ll need and give our students the support they’ll need moving forward.”
While federal COVID-19 relief dollars received thus far are helping districts get through the immediate crisis, many of the decisions that will most directly aid students’ recovery — such as staffing — cannot be made with one-time, short-term funding. Superintendents today reiterated the importance of state lawmakers finalizing a 2021–22 school aid budget by June 1st, so schools can get to work on long-term remediation efforts, which are likely to include hiring teachers, support staff, tutors, social workers and other staff to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of students.
“The clock is ticking for legislators in Lansing to allocate federal dollars and provide state budget certainty for school districts that will allow us to move forward with the recovery efforts that will ultimately put our students back on the path for success following this ongoing pandemic,” said St. Clair County RESA Superintendent Dr. Kevin Miller. “I’m hopeful we can work together, allocate the remainder of the federal funding and get a school aid budget done by June 1st because the alternative simply means that our students will be left further behind and that isn’t an option we can afford.”
A recording of today’s “State of Michigan Schools” media roundtable can be found here.