Michigan school districts are receiving $ 3.3 billion in funding from the $ 1.9 trillion U.S. bailout stimulus package, approved earlier this month.
That’s more money than the first two stimulus packages given to Michigan schools combined.
âThis provides a level of funding that schools haven’t gotten in a generation,â said Robert McCann, executive director of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan. “This is ultimately going to give every school the opportunity to give students some of these salvage tools that we know are needed.”
But because of the formula the federal government uses to distribute the funds, many school districts of similar size receive very different amounts of money.
Take St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, for example, two relatively small neighboring school districts in southwest Michigan. Benton Harbor has approximately 1,770 students and St. Joseph has approximately 3,000.
St. Joseph’s public schools will get about $ 1.3 million from the latest federal stimulus package. Schools in the Benton Harbor area will receive $ 29.6 million.
The gap is there because the funding is distributed in proportion to the amount of Title I, risky funding that schools receive. Districts with low income students and bilingual learners receive more money from Title I.
Therefore, low-income districts receive the bulk of this funding. The Detroit Public Schools Community District scores the best with $ 808 million, while the Flint City School District is second with $ 99 million.
Here’s a look at what each school district receives. You can search by name or county and filter by total amount or money per student. (Can’t see the database? Click here)
Estimates come from the Michigan Senate Tax Agency.
Michigan education executives argued that Title I funding shouldn’t be the only part of the formula – but their calls were ignored in the final package.
âAlthough it goes to the students most in need, in this pandemic funding case, all students need it,â said Jennifer Smith, director of government relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards.
Michigan receives $ 3.7 billion for schools, although only 90% is to be directly allocated to school districts.
This is the third round of funding schools through federal stimulus packages in the past year – although only 40% of the roughly $ 1.5 billion given to Michigan schools in January was transferred to districts. The state legislature needs to allocate this money to districts – it can’t go directly from the federal government to schools, Smith said.
The first rounds of funding were stalled at the state level as Democrats and Republicans battle for politics.
Hoping to avoid that, US Senator Debbie Stabenow helped add a provision to this latest stimulus package that requires states to shift funding for schools within 60 days.
âMy reading would be that the money would be returned to the federal government (if not allocated within 60 days),â McCann said.
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Michigan education officials have been frustrated with the money getting stuck in politics, as students and teachers are back in the classroom facing the risks of COVID-19 without much thought. aid.
âThere is definitely a concern that the money is going to keep coming in, but the legislature is not appropriating it,â Smith said. âWe would really like them to start feeling the need (to send money) more. “
Smith is also concerned about any terms the Michigan legislature might attach to the latest funding. Previously, the state required schools to offer at least 20 hours of in-person lessons per week to get some of the money.
What can the money be used for?
Districts are to spend 20% of funds to address âlearning loss,â which can include things like summer programs, before and after school programs and other supports for students who are in school. delay due to school disruptions related to COVID-19.
The rest of the money can be spent on things like upgrading air filtration and ventilation systems or replacing windows to limit the spread of viruses, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies , technology, mental health services and more.
Education officials are hoping for more guidance on how to use the money in the coming weeks.
Funds from the second round of stimulus – signed by President Donald Trump in December – are due to be spent by September 2023. This final round of funding signed by President Joe Biden is to be spent by June 2024, McCann said.
McCann said the money would be put to good use, but Michigan still needs to make permanent investments in schools with more annual funding.
âIt’s taking the wound of school funding and putting a band-aid on it,â McCann said. âIt helps, but it won’t solve the problem. We are grateful that Congress continues to recognize the needs of schools at this time, but ultimately what we will need is the legislature here in Michigan to recognize the same and make long-lasting structural changes. term funding for schools. . “
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