During the convening of a joint session of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees this morning, the Executive Office delivered Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Budget Recommendation for FY 2021. The budget reflects the governor’s priorities, which she highlighted last week during her State of the State address: improving education and skills for Michigan’s children, protecting our families and public health, and cleaning up Michigan’s water and fighting climate change.

Overall, the budget totals $61.9 billion, which reflects a 3.9% increase from the current fiscal year. The General Fund/General Purpose budget has increased by 5.8% to a total of $11 billion, which reflects baseline increases and one-time investments.

On the School Aid front, the budget for FY 2021 is $15.9 billion, a 4.9% increase over the FY 2020 budget.

Community colleges remain fully funded with School Aid Fund dollars. For FY 2021, the executive budget recommendation includes total funding of $433.8 million SAF, an approximate 2.5% increase. Higher Education continues to share School Aid $400,000,000 money as well; however, their 2.5% increase comes at the expense of the General Fund.

The governor’s proposal continues the movement toward a weighted funding formula and provides $415 million for this goal. This equates to a $290 million increase base per-pupil funding distributed through a 1.5X. The minimum funding allowance will increase to $8,336 and $8,679 for districts at the maximum. This equals a $150-$225 per pupil increase and reduces the gap between the highest and lowest funded districts to $343 per pupil.

The weighted funding formula includes a per pupil amount plus additional funding for economically disadvantaged students ($60 million), special education reimbursement ($60 million), and English language learners ($5 million).

The executive budget increases the Great Start Readiness Program section by $35.5 million to boost the state payment for a full-day preschooler from $7,250 to $8,336. This increase reflects the same increase as the proposed K-12 base foundation allowance and is the first per slot increase since 2014. Further, the proposal includes $42 million to expand access to preschool for children living in high-poverty districts.

A new section in the governor’s Executive Recommendation provides $25 million to reimburse teachers up to $250 for out of pocket supply costs through a teacher supply reimbursement and purchasing program.

Other highlights in the School Aid Budget:

  • $5 million for CTE incentive payments is maintained
  • Sec. 81 operation funding for intermediate school districts is increased by 3%, to a total of $71.2 million
  • $205.9 million for MPSERS obligations to reflect changes in assumptions for the longer lifespans for retirees
  • This increase in funding reflects an increase in services to 5,000 children
  • Maintains $31.5 million for state-funded literacy coaches
  • Increases state funding for literacy essentials training by $3 million
  • $40 Million for one-time grants to support districts with air and water filter replacement, lead and asbestos abatement, heating and cooling modifications, building modifications, and other facility upgrades to provide students with safe, healthy learning environments
  • $1 million to offset district costs of forgiving existing student meal debt

The budget includes $1.5 million to expand existing and create new teacher cadet programs to help create a student-to-teacher pipeline for high school students, while helping to keep our educated youth at home where they can grow to become advocates for their schools and communities.

MDE Budget Highlights

The Michigan Department of Education executive budget recommendation is a total of $450.4 million, of which $87.6 million is General Fund dollars. The governor also recommends $1.8 million in one-time funding for FY 2021, all of which is general fund dollars.

The MDE budget has four major investment areas:

  • $27 million for Child Development and Care
    • Expand access to high-quality childcare for low-income families by increasing the qualifying income limit from 130% to 150% of the federal poverty level. These are federal funds.
  • $1.8 million GF for Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) Early Childhood Initiative
    • One-time funds to expand high-quality and evidenced-based learning to all children ages 0-5 in the state.
  • $180,000 GF for Michigan’s educator supports
    • Focus on improved recruitment and retention of teachers in districts that are struggling academically. Efforts will also be made to inform and educate the public on the teaching profession and to increase the number of qualified educators in the state.
  • $100,000 GF for Michigan’s poet laureate
    • Create and support a state poet laureate who will travel the state meeting with teachers and students to promote poetry, the spoken word, and literary arts in a generation of young students

Other noteworthy budget items include:

  • $15 Million GF for Pure Michigan
  • $10 Million GF to establish a Michigan Student Loan Refinance Program
    • A qualified individual to refinance up to $50,000 of his or her student loans through the Michigan Department of Treasury with a new lower interest rate. The program will be open to individuals with federal and nonfederal student loans used to pay expenses at a Michigan institution of higher education, who have resided in Michigan for at least 12 months and have been making regular payments on those loans for at least three years.
  • $2 Million GF for an Oral Health Assessment Program
    • Program to screen public school children entering kindergarten. This program will provide free dental screenings and assessments to children who do not have dental coverage.

The full set of documents to accompany the address can be found at http://bit.ly/MASAFY21ExecBudget