New Supplemental Appropriations Bill
This program began last year and funding for it was in full effect for the 2013-14 fiscal year. However, it was removed from the 2014-15 budget at the last minute, despite heavy support from Michigan Legislature.
“We were very surprised that when they sat down to do the budget, it’d stripped that year-round pilot program funding,” said Karissa Chabot-Purchase, a representative of Andy Schor. “The House Bill 5861 is a reaction to that. Let’s pass another supplemental appropriations bill and let’s get it back in so we can continue this program for future years.”
According to the Michigan House Democratic Caucus, the budget will include the same $2 million from the general fund in last year’s budget. It will also include another $2 million from the Strategic Fund to help endow schools that weren’t awarded last year, as well as to help keep the program open another year.
When Funding Began
In September 2013, Rep. Schor proposed House Bill 4892, which allocated no more than $10 million to schools at-risk districts that wanted to transition from a traditional calendar year, to year-round. However, the House Bill was killed.
The adjustments included setting aside $2 million for infrastructural changes, which was considerably less than $10 million, but still could get the job done. The key change to the HB 4925 was that the target schools became at-risk schools, many of which are located in Michigan’s poor neighborhoods.
This House Bill passed with an overwhelming support from the House, Senate and Governor and a pilot project was set in place.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, five schools were awarded grants, topping the $2 million dollar budget. They included Detroit’s GEE Edmonson Academy, Adrian’s Madison School District (Lenawee), Muskegon Heights Public School Academy, Port Huron Area School District, and Ypsilanti Community Schools.
Each of the school districts were awarded anywhere between $100,000 to $750,000, with Muskegon Heights Public School Academy receiving the most at $750,000.
According to Schor, the problem at these high-risk schools is the three-month break students receive within the traditional calendar year. Teachers can spend as much as six weeks reviewing the previous year’s material.
Locals’ take on the issue
Lansing Public Schools currently has not adapted to the year-round change.
Lansing native and Old Town employee, Alicia Trantum, is unsure of the effect a year-round schedule would have on the students.
“[Year-round schools] could work in the high risk category,” she said. “Some students might need that option. However, it’s a multilayered issue and it’s going to be hard to solve it. This could be the answer, this could not.”
Rep-Schor hopes for a positive turnout.
According to the Michigan House Democratic Caucus, he says we need to keep Michigan students “in mind” and give them the options they need to succeed.