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Michigan Legislature to Return to Capitol with Goal of Adopting State Budgets

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Lawmakers are working with an additional $4.4 billion in federal COVID-19 recovery funds that can help schools recruit teachers and deal with learning loss over the past year, but only if the Legislature votes to appropriate the money.

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The Legislature is back in Lansing this week with the primary goal of wrapping up the state budget. That includes a spending plan for schools.

Lawmakers are working with an additional $4.4 billion in federal COVID-19 recovery funds.

The sooner the Legislature gets it to us, the sooner we can put programs in place to help kids learn and also make up for what they lost during the pandemic.” —Donald Wotruba, Michigan Association of School Boards

This money can help schools recruit teachers, get classrooms ready and deal with learning loss over the 16-month-long COVID-19 crisis, but only if the Legislature votes to appropriate the money, says Donald Wotruba, the executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards.

The sooner the Legislature gets it to us, the sooner we can put programs in place to help kids learn and also make up for what they lost during the pandemic,” he said.

Wotruba said money for teacher recruitment is a critical component.

We’re in a hiring space now going through the summer, and the ability to hire a new pool of teachers is going to be really important with all the retirements we had this year.”

Part of the spending plan is a historic agreement to close the baseline per-pupil spending gap between school districts.

The state House adopted a K-through-12 education budget last week. The Senate could adopt it this week and send it to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Legislature could wait until closer to Oct. 1, when the state’s new fiscal year officially begins. But school districts and local governments have budget years that begin July 1. 

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Rick Pluta, REPORTER / PRODUCER - MICHIGAN PUBLIC RADIO NETWORK

Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

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