Statement by the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity on the budget recommendations from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12

This is a statement on behalf of the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity on the budget recommendations from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12:

The Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity (MPEO) coalition today applauded Sen. Darrin Camilleri and members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12 for their continued leadership in championing systemic school funding change while investing more for students with the greatest needs.

“While there is far more to do to ensure Michigan’s students with the greatest needs have the resources they need to be successful – alongside a new system of fiscal transparency and accountability that ensures that new investments will be used meaningfully and effectively on the students for whom they are intended – today’s budget is a promising sign that state leaders are committed to ensuring opportunity for all of Michigan’s students, particularly students who are the most underserved,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest and one of the tri-chairs of the MPEO.

Today’s budget recommendations, which were approved by the subcommittee, would double funding for English Learners this year, bringing funding for these students to a record amount of $79.5 million. The subcommittee today also recommended an increase of $122 million for students from low-income backgrounds through the Opportunity Index, a new weighted funding formula approved by the legislature last year.

The legislature last year also established a new weighted funding formula for English Learners and increased funding for English Learners by 50%, representing the first significant investment for these students in decades.

“These promising budget recommendations build upon the momentum from last year when the legislature made history by becoming one of the first ten states in the nation with similar funding formulas to include an index – the Opportunity Index – for concentrated poverty in school districts,” said Alice Thompson, chair of the education committee of the NAACP-Detroit branch and a tri-chair of the MPEO. “Let’s keep moving forward so that all Michigan students – Black and Latino students, students from low-income backgrounds, English Learners, and students with disabilities – have opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.”

Both the Opportunity Index, which would invest at least $2.9 billion for students from low-income backgrounds when it is fully funded, and the increased funding for English Learners, were multi-year priorities championed by the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity, a statewide coalition of cross-sector organizations and leaders who are committed to ensuring educational opportunity for all Michigan children, regardless of zip code or background. Additionally, lawmakers last year voted to support fully funding the foundation allowance for students with disabilities for the first time in Michigan, which also was a key priority of the coalition.

“We are grateful for the subcommittee’s ongoing commitment to English Learners and students from low-income backgrounds, in particular, and look forward to working with the members over the next several years to truly make transformational change for the future of our students and the future of Michigan,” said Mike Jandernoa, a West Michigan business leader and tri-chair of the MPEO.

Recommendations of the MPEO for FY25 include:

  • Urgently addressing the need to develop stronger systems of fiscal transparency and accountability including accessible school-level financial reporting to ensure that the historic investments in students with additional needs actually reach the schools where those students learn. Strong systems of fiscal transparency and accountability also provide meaningful engagement opportunities for parents, community leaders, and other education stakeholders when deciding how local schools are spending public dollars.
  • Committing to fully funding the Opportunity Index over a 5-year period. The MPEO recommends investing an additional $500 million in the Opportunity Index in this year’s budget and annually for the following four years.
  • Committing to funding the weights for English Learners already in statute over a 5-year period. This includes the additional $40 million investment this year, with greater investments over time.

Moving toward full reimbursement of the costs to provide services to students with disabilities. The MPEO further recommends that the state commit to reexamining our current funding system and working toward a new funding system that fully meets the needs of students with disabilities

By Published On: April 16, 2024Categories: News

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