Legislature approves K-12 budget, eliminates school funding gap

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a $17.1 billion K-12 budget that will eliminate a longstanding base per-student funding gap among districts and boost overall funding by a substantial 10 percent.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed what many education officials called a historic bill, providing certainty to districts.

Budgets for state departments and funding for universities, community colleges and local governments will wait, potentially until September, despite a 2019 law requiring that they also be sent to the governor before Friday. The state fiscal year does not start until Oct. 1.

The plan, which received overwhelming bipartisan support from legislators, dedicates $17 billion to the school aid fund – up nearly 10 percent overall from the current year. All Michigan schools will receive $8,700 per student.

This provides an additional $589 per student (up 7 percent) for districts currently at the minimum foundation allowance – including the Clio, Davison, Genesee, Kearsley and LakeVille school districts. Montrose Community Schools, which was previously receiving close to the minimum foundation allowance, will receive an additional $526 per pupil.

Districts in other areas of the state that were already at the maximum foundation allowance will receive an additional $171 per student (up 2 percent).

Based on student enrollment, local districts are estimated to receive the following increases:

• Davison Community Schools, $3,263,784

• Genesee School District, $387,326

• Kearsley Community Schools, $1,674,580

• LakeVille Community Schools, $652,683

In addition, the Legislature has distributed millions of dollars in federal COVID relief funding to Michigan schools, including the following totals for local districts:

• Davison Community Schools, $8,898,391

• Genesee School District, $1,823,475

• Kearsley Community Schools, $8,819,366

• LakeVille Community Schools, $3,475,115

State Rep. David Martin (R-Davison), who voted in favor of the budget, said the plan invests more in every student while finally and fully eliminating the funding gap between districts that shortchanged many local schools.

“For far too long, kids in our local schools have been allocated hundreds of dollars less in per-pupil funding than their peers in more affluent areas of the state,” Martin said. “I went to bat to change this because every single child should have an equal opportunity to learn and grow, regardless of where their family lives.”