Governor, lawmakers seek school funding boost

By MAXWELL EVANS

Capital News Service

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 budget proposal would increase school funding by more than a half-billion dollars. The boost to the School Aid Fund would come from a proposed transfer of all higher education funding — which has in part relied on K-12 education dollars for almost a decade — back to the General Fund. The increase would provide an additional $235 million to foundation allowances, which is the state’s funding of basic classroom needs and daily operations. That amounts to $120 to $180 per student, with the largest increases going to districts with the lowest foundation allowances. Whitmer’s budget proposal also calls for an additional $120 million in special education funding, $102 million for at-risk students and $50 million for career and technical education.

Only 25% of Michigan teachers recommend the job

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Most teachers wouldn’t recommend that their students follow in their footsteps, according to a recent Michigan survey. Launch Michigan, a diverse coalition of groups that are sometimes at loggerheads but come together to advocate for education changes, reports that 75% of Michigan educators would not recommend education as a career. That contributes to the challenges of recruitment and retention, experts say. Launch Michigan is a coalition of business, teacher, administrator and other organizations seeking education reform. Their hope is to find solutions and strategies for the problems teachers face and retain more educators, said Emma White, the principal researcher at Emma White Research who did the survey.

Schools buy local produce with state grants

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — More Michigan students than ever have access to fresh produce, thanks to a state farm-to-school program. The 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms program this year provided 135,000 children with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. “I’m all about kids eating healthy food, and there’s nothing healthier than fresh produce that’s grown right in their home state,” said Diane Golzynski, the director of Health and Nutrition Services in the Department of Education. Grant-winning school districts purchase fresh fruits, vegetables or dried beans grown in Michigan. The schools report how many meals they served that contained the fresh produce.

Harsh weather could lead to earlier school year

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — This winter’s extreme weather could be the tipping point proponents of starting school before Labor Day need. Schools across the state cancelled classes, sometimes several days in a row, due to bad weather and extreme cold. Many of those schools did not have enough snow days built into the year and had to figure out how to make up that missed time. “You see schools going quite deep into the summer, and it’s going to be hard for them to keep those kids’ attention,” said Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland. “This is going to be a heavy lift, but I think this year with all the snow days we’ve had, it might make sense to say, you know what, we need a little bit more flexibility as we go forward.”

Johnson recently introduced a bill with bipartisan co-sponsors that would leave school start dates up to local school boards, allowing classes to begin before Labor Day.