Whitmer launches back-to-school tour with students, parents and educators in Novi

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2022

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Governor Whitmer launches back-to-school tour with students, parents and educators in Novi

Discussion centers on classroom investments, on-campus mental health resources, teacher recruitment

NOVI, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer kicked off her back-to-school tour, sitting down with students, parents and teachers to discuss the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration’s efforts to strengthen in-person learning, campus mental health and staff recruitment and retention at the start of the new school year. Last month, the governor signed his fourth bipartisan education budget that will make the state’s largest investment per student in Michigan’s history, hire, train and recruit 10,000 teachers, expand mental health resources on campus, build school facilities, and more.

“As a mother, I know that all parents want to send their children to school knowing that they have the resources and support they need to start the school year off right,” said Governor Whitmer. “That is why I am grateful to have invaluable contributions from parents, teachers and staff to ensure that the resources of the historic education budget that I signed last month are used as efficiently as possible. Our bipartisan budget achieved the highest per-student funding in Michigan history, will help recruit and train 10,000 educators, and invest in school infrastructure, mental health and campus safety. Together, we can improve your child’s classroom experience and ensure they are on the right path to long-term success. I will work with anyone to help our children learn and grow in person.

Governor Whitmer worked with education leaders, as well as students and parents to get their perspective throughout the budget process. She will continue to engage with students, parents, educators and experts throughout the school year, including engaging parents more formally in the policy development process with the Michigan Parents’ Council.

“We saw the data from the School Finance Research Collaborative, and we were hoping our legislators would adopt the recommendations it produced,” said Ben Mainka, superintendent of the Novi Community School District. “As public educators, we are extremely grateful for the investment that has been made this year in our students, our staff, and, quite literally, our future here in Michigan. The intentionality given to mental health, recruitment and to teacher retention and school infrastructure by Governor Whitmer and the Legislature this year will benefit not only the Novi Community School District, but the entire state of Michigan. We are extremely excited for an incredible school year, and support like this is just what Michigan schools need right now.”

“I am encouraged by the move toward fully funded pre-12 public education because it makes it so much easier to give students the resources they need to become successful Michigan citizens and stay in Michigan.” , said Ruth Ann Knapp, a retired educator from Saginaw for more than four decades. “The level of funding is very helpful in supporting the vocational school family: teachers, helpers, administrators, caretakers, cafeteria workers, etc. If they have decent wages, they can do the work they love as their only job instead of having to juggle two or three just to make ends meet.

“The Funding MI Future Educator Fellowship is an effective way to recruit and retain excellent teacher candidates while recognizing the work required for the job,” said Amena Choukairya current student teacher and future graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint. “Teachers are in need in Michigan, and programs like this will help break down barriers that prevent student teachers from excelling in their roles.”

“Governor Gretchen Whitmer understands the stress that Michigan students and families have faced in recent years,” said Wesley Wilson, trustee of the Mona Shores Public School District. “Determined to enable Michigan students to succeed, she led efforts to provide $214 per student in every Michigan district to provide mental health and school safety support.”

Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer proposed suspending Michigan’s sales tax on school supplies, as part of her MI back-to-school plan to help families save money as soon as now helping educators save on classroom expenses and equip kids with the tools they need to succeed, including everything from paper and pencils to crayons and computers.

Governor Whitmer has centered Michigan families by making historic investments in pre-K-12 schools without raising taxes. She continues to make meaningful changes so that every child in every school in Michigan has the same opportunity to succeed.

Investing in Southeast Michigan Students and Schools

  • $1,279 per-student funding increase for Southeast Michigan’s more than 555,000 students since taking office
  • Expanding Free Preschool Education to Over 10,000 Children in Southeast Michigan Through Great Start Readiness Program
  • Closed the funding gap between schools, ensuring that each school district has the same base funding

Education budget in figures

  • Funding of $9,150 per student for each child, in each public school district, the highest amount ever recorded by the state.
  • $214 per student funding for mental health and school safety for every child, in every public school district.
  • Additional funding to meet individual student needs for all of the approximately 200,000 special education students and 710,000 at-risk students.
  • $250 million for school infrastructure.
  • $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future Michigan educators each year.

Distribution of the education budget

Governor Whitmer is dedicated to improving the classroom experience for every student in Michigan. The education budget focuses on improving six key areas: students, mental health, learning supports, student safety, school infrastructure and teacher recruitment.

1) Students

For our students, the highest per-student funding in Michigan history – $9,150 for students in each district. Additional support for Michigan’s nearly 200,000 special education students and 710,000 at-risk students. A continued expansion of free preschool education through the Great Start Readiness program. Increase funding for vocational and technical training programs by 27%.

2) Mental Health

Dedicated mental health funds for every student in every school. Increase funding for adolescent centers, district mental health grants, and TRAILS, which provides training for school mental health professionals so they can better serve students with evidence-based services.

3) Learning materials

An expansion of before and after school programs to keep children engaged. Funding for MI Kids Back on Track, Governor Whitmer’s proposal to provide every child in Michigan with tutoring to help catch up and get on track for long-term success, and resources for districts to develop learning modules for academically at-risk and economically disadvantaged students.

4) Student Safety

Dedicated school safety funds for every student in every school. Funding to hire more school resource officers on campus, create an at-risk student response system that brings together law enforcement, schools and mental health professionals, and establish a commission of school safety.

5) School infrastructure

$250 million for school infrastructure. Resources to help schools build or renovate classrooms, labs and libraries. Funds to assess current state of school infrastructure, determine additional funding.

6) Recruitment of teachers

Funding for the MI Future Educator Scholarships, which pay up to $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future educators in Michigan each year, $9,600 in stipends per semester for trainee teachers, and Grow-Your-Own programs that help districts put support staff on free paths to become educators. Additional funding for Vocational and Technical Educators and the Troops-to-Teachers program that connects veterans with teacher mentors as they work to become certified educators. Finally, a solid investment to guarantee retired teachers a stable and secure retirement.

Novi Round Table on Back to School 1

Novi Round Table on Back to School 2

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