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June 24, 2021

In This Update:

House Passes Budget for FY22

By now you’ve heard the breaking budget news – this afternoon the House passed a FY 21-22 budget bill that has been agreed to by Gov. Whitmer. HB 4411 passed with 105 votes and is now on its way to the Senate where senators will hopefully consider the bill when they return to town on Wednesday, June 30.  

Included below are the high-level takeaways from the House’s revised budget proposal that are of most interest to MASA members. We will share a more detailed summary of the House-passed budget in tomorrow’s legislative update. In the meantime, you can find an analysis from the House Fiscal Agency here.  

For now, we are asking that each of you reach out to your state senator over the next few days and urge them to vote yes on this bill as soon as possible. 

Foundation Allowance  

The House includes a $171-$342 per pupil increase using the 2x formula. This increases the target foundation allowance to $8,700 and the minimum foundation allowance to $8,453. Additionally, the House included $262 million for an “equity payment” of up to $247 per pupil for districts below the target foundation allowance. To put it plainly, the new foundation allowance for all districts would be $8,700. This is the first time since the passage of Proposal A that the foundation allowance would be the same for all districts.   

Seat Time Flexibility  

Despite our best efforts and many calls and emails from you to members of the Legislature, the deal does not include any flexibility around seat time for online or asynchronous learning opportunities. Long-story-short, seat time, days and hours, and counts go back to pre-pandemic rules for the 2021-2022 school year. While we would have preferred a different answer, having certainty this early will allow districts to prepare for the fall knowing the pupil accounting rules.  

Sec. 31o – Wraparound Services (NEW!) 

The House included $240 million for districts with the greatest need for school psychologists, social workers, counselors, and nurses. The program provides funding for staff hired using a formula for the first three year – 100% funding for the first year, 66% funding for the second year, and 33% funding for the third year – and requires a recipient district to fully fund staff thereafter. This model emulates the school safety proposal MASA spearhead several years back. 

Sec. 32d – Great Start Readiness Program  

The House proposal includes federal funding to implement changes from Governor Whitmer’s plan to provide increases to the GSRP allocation per child from $7,250 to $8,700 for a full-day program – an amount equal to the proposed minimum foundation allowance plus equity payment – and from $3,625 to $4,350 for a part-day program. Further, we believe that this proposal also includes an expansion of available slots, but we haven't seen the exact language to verify. 

Sec. 51f – Special Education Cost Reimbursement  

The House proposal increases the reimbursement of special education costs by $30 million, bringing the total reimbursement up to 3% of total approved special education costs. 

Sec. 81 – ISD General Operations 

Provides a 4% increase to ISD general operations support, bringing Sec. 81 up to $71.9 million.  

Equalization

The House also added the equalization line item we've been lobbying for inclusion in the supplemental. The amendment adds $360 million in a categorical to guarantee every district at least $1,093 per pupil after all ESSER III funds are distributed. The categorical does not appear to have a requirement for a minimum number of hours. This is a big win for schools and we thank you for all your support in lobbying lawmakers on this topic. As has been reported in the media, we've been able to direct the conversation on this topic and ensure that lawmakers don't leave town until these dollars were distributed. 

Supplemental Funds

The House also passed HB 4421 which finally appropriates the rest of the ESSER II money and the entire allocation of ESSER III funding from Washington for a total of $4,373,875,700 in federal funds. This money goes out largely using the Title I Part A formula, like the previous ESSER allocations. The full distribution is as follows: 

  • $86,777,000 from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding for emergency assistance to nonpublic schools as provided in Federal law (Sec 11o). 

  • $93,023,000 from the Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools funding to provide services or assistance to nonpublic schools as provided in Federal law (Sec. 11o). 

  • $840,677,500 for the remaining Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II funding distributed to districts based on their Title I, Part A allocations as provided in Federal law, bringing the total to $1,490,677,500 (Sec. 11r(4)). 

  • $3,347,849,700 in ESSER III funding distributed to districts based on their Title I, Part A allocations as provided in Federal law (Sec. 11r(8)). 

  • $5,548,500 for the remaining ESSER II administrative funding to the Department of Education, bringing the total to $8,281,500 (Sec. 11r(8)). 

The bill also amends Section 23b, which provides funding for summer school, before- and after-school, and other programs. Amendments to this section include allowing students to enroll in summer programming offered by any district (not just their resident district, fixing the school of choice issue), allowing districts to use local assessments to make determinations of children with greatest need (in addition to benchmark assessment data) for summer programming, and removing requirements that summer programming be in-person.  

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