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April 23, 2021

In This Update:

Summary

The big news out of the Capitol this week is all about money. Both the House and the Senate began moving their budget proposals for FY 22 and the House made moves on one of the largest supplemental bills in the state’s history. Yesterday, we released a short video to provide a high-level briefing on the competing FY 22 proposals. 

While we continue to stress the importance of suspending third grade retention, evaluations, and many of the accountability provisions surrounding state testing, lawmakers have not yet made significant moves to that end. We do encourage you to reach out to your House and Senate members with these concerns. 

As always, please contact MASA with any questions or concerns. Please make sure to add MASAGov@gomasa.org to your address book and your district allowed list of recipients to ensure delivery of these updates.

FY 2021-22 School Aid Budgets

The House and Senate Appropriation subcommittees released and subsequently voted on their respective Fiscal Year 2021-22 budgets on Thursday. Procedurally, this step of the budget process is largely routine. HB 4407 and SB 83 will continue through the negotiation process and neither proposal detailed below will be the final product.  

The House and Senate budget versions are significantly different. The House’s proposal rolled up and consolidated many categoricals and focused on larger line-items. In the other chamber, the Senate included nearly every categorical from previous fiscal years and included funding for several projects that we often refer to as “pork.” Some examples include funding for drowning prevention safety presentations, Algebra Nation, Michigan Fitness Foundation, and Orton-Gillingham.  

Below we’ve summarized most of the high points, but will continue to refine our analysis and provide more detail soon.  

Here are some resources to aid in understanding the proposals: 

Total Appropriations:

House: $16.349 billion 
Senate: $15.525 billion 

Foundation Allowance:

House: $50 to $100 per pupil (2x) 

  • Minimum Foundation Allowance: $8,211 
  • Maximum (Target) Foundation Allowance: $8,579 

Senate: $125 to $250 per pupil (2x) 

  • Minimum Foundation Allowance: $8,361 
  • Maximum (Target) Foundation Allowance: $8,654 

Both the House and Senate maintain the cyber school foundation allowance at 100%. Additionally, both chambers eliminated the “super blend” that was included in the FY 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Under both proposals, pupil membership would be calculated using the more familiar 90/10 blend.  

Sec. 31a: At-Risk Funding

House: maintains current-year appropriation. Revises allocation to a district with state and local revenue exceeding the Target foundation allowance for both the current and prior year from 30% to 35% of the amount for which it would otherwise be eligible. Expands "at-risk pupil" definition to include Pre-K.

Senate: standard funding is maintained at $510 million with another $12 million in At-Risk Hold Harmless funding. Revises allowable uses to add that districts could use this portion of at-risk funding for parent liaisons.

Sec. 32d: Great Start Readiness Program  

House: Increases by $5 million SAF, which increases the allocation per child from $7,250 to $7,400 for a full-day program and from $3,625 to $3,700 for a part-day program. Revises pathways to eligibility as a lead teacher, including provides that five years of experience as a paraprofessional qualifies as an additional pathway for eligibility.

Senate: Raises the per-child full-day slot payment from $7,250 up to the proposed minimum foundation allowance level of $8,275, and to increase the longitudinal study appropriation from $350,000 to $600,000 GF/GP. 

Sec. 81: ISD General Operations Support 

House: Maintains current year funding.

Senate: Provides for a 2.0% increase and adds a condition for funding that ISDs must include PSAs in communications, particularly as they relate to COVID-19. Gives section immediate effect. 

Sec. 152b: Reimbursement to Nonpublic Schools 

House: $2.5 million GF and requires reimbursements to also be made for expenses incurred over previous fiscal years. 

Senate: Retains the section and funds at $250,000 GF/GP. Extends work projects through Sept. 30, 2023. 

Senate Only Items of Significance: 

  • Sec. 25k: During-School Social and Emotional Learning ($100 Placeholder) 
    • Includes a $100 placeholder for a program that provides dropout prevention solutions for at risk students and disengaged learners by providing during-school social and emotional learning, enrichment, career exploration, and counseling. 
  • Sec. 31p: NEW TRAILS ($1.4 million) 
    • New competitive grant program for ISDs to support the TRAILS program, which provides training to school mental health professionals. 

House Only Items of Significance: 

  • Sec 11d: Per Pupil Reduction Payments ($172 million SAF) 
    • Payments to districts based on an equal per-pupil basis  
  • Sec. 22e: Rural Transportation Reimbursement ($50 million SAF) 
    • $250 per pupil for districts with fewer than 10 pupils per square mile; $200 per pupil for districts with at least 10 but fewer than 15 pupils per square mile; and $150 per pupil for districts with at least 15 but fewer than 20 pupils per square mile. 
  • Sec. 23b: Remediation Services ($152.4 million SAF)  
    • $90 million for in-person summer programs for grades K-8; $45 million for high school credit recovery programs; and $17.4 million for in-person before and/or after school programs. An eligible district, ISD, or consortium of districts or ISDs receives $550 for each student in a K-8 summer program, $550 for each student in a credit recovery program, and up to $25,000 for a before and/or after school program. Payments may be prorated if funds are insufficient. 
  • Sec. 23e: Community Based Organizations Before/After School Programs ($5 million GF) 
    • Competitive grants to community-based organizations for in-person before and/or after school programs for grades K-8. To the extent practicable, requires MDE to ensure that eligible entities in all geographic regions of the state are represented in the distribution of grant funding. Also requires prioritization of entities that are located within districts or ISDs that do not provide the same before and/or after school programming. 
  • Sec. 97: School Safety Grants ($10 million GF)  
    • Competitive grants for public and nonpublic schools, districts, and ISDs to create a safer school environment through equipment and technology enhancements. Caps grants at $50,000 for a school and $250,000 for a district or ISD. 

House Supplemental Budget

The House has three supplemental spending bills that allocate a combination of the federal COVID relief dollars from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Recall that CRRSAA is the Congressional package that was signed into law by former President Trump in December and includes the ESSER II allocation. Our state legislature has yet to fully allocate all the funds from the December pot. 

There are still ESSER II dollars on the table because the legislature tie barred that earlier supplemental bill, HB 4048 to HB 4049, legislation that proposed restricting the director of the Department of Health and Human Services from closing a public or nonpublic school to in-person instruction or prohibiting a qualified sporting event during an epidemic involving coronavirus. HB 4049 was vetoed and subsequently, only 40% of Michigan’s full ESSER II award was allocated. Nearly $840 million dollars remain. This most recent supplemental, HB 4421 reallocates those $840 million in section 11r(4) and 8. 

Unfortunately, there is yet another tie-bar in this most recent supplemental. HB 4421 ties several sections to the signature of HB 4082, a bill that limits the amount the State Administrative Board can transfer only up to $200,000 in the aggregate. You might recall that in 2019, Governor Whitmer shifted nearly $600 million dollars between department budgets. This was the same year she issued 147 line item vetoes. The tie-bar may result in Gov. Whitmer vetoing this plan if it makes it to her desk, so we are monitoring that situation closely.

While the Legislature has put unrelated strings on money for public schools, none of the money in the supplemental for nonpublic schools is tie barred to a policy bill. 

Below is a breakdown of HB 4421. Please note that the dollars in this supplemental appropriations bill are a combination of ESSER II and ESSER III dollars.  

Sec. 11o- Authorization of Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) Program ($179.8 Million GEERS dollars) 

  • $86.8 million ESSER II and $93 million ESSER III 
  • Provides services and assistance to nonpublic schools through a grant application process administered by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

Sec. 11r(4) and (8)-ESSER Formula Grant Increase ($4.18 Billion ESSER dollars)  

  • $1.5 billion ESSER II and $3.3 billion ESSER III 
  • Formula grants required to be distributed to districts based on districts’ Title I, Part A allocations. 
  • Districts may use funds only as designated under federal law, including that 20% of ESSER III grants under the ARP Act must be reserved to address learning loss. 
  • Tie-barred to HB 4082 

Sec. 11r(10)-ESSER III Per-Pupil Equalization ($362 Million ESSER dollars)  

  • $362 million ESSER III 
  • Per-pupil equalization payments for districts that receive less than $1,093 per pupil through the ESSER III formula grant. 
  • Equalization payments equal the district's pupil membership multiplied by the difference between $1,093 and the district's ESSER III formula payment per pupil.  
  • The payment language requires districts to dedicate 50.0% of funds for activities to address learning loss, 10.3% for the implementation of summer enrichment programs, and 10.3% for the implementation of after-school programs. 
  • Tie-barred to HB 4082 

Sec. 11r(11)-ESSER II Administrative Funding Increase ($8.3 million ESSER dollars) 

  • $8.3 million federal ESSER II Fund under the CRRSA Act 
  • MDE to administer the grants under Sec. 11r 
  • Tie-barred to HB 4082 

Sec. 11t- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems ($45 million)  

  • $45.0 million federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund (under ARP)  
  • Requires MDE to give higher priority to districts that will receive the least amount of ESSER II Fund under the CRRSA Act and ESSER III Fund under the ARP Act and districts that will implement a balanced calendar instructional program in at least one school beginning with the 2021-22 school year.  
  • Caps grants at $5.0 million. 

Sec. 23d-Summer Programming ($10 million GEER dollars) 

  • $10 million CRRSAA  
  • For parents or legal guardians whose child(ren) are enrolled in summer programming in 2021. An eligible parent or guardian receives $50 per enrolled child plus reimbursement for expenses incurred, not to exceed an additional $200 per child. Payments may be prorated if funds are insufficient.  
  • Gov. Whitmer has vetoed this voucher style program at least once. 

Sec. 25i-Attendance Recovery ($4 million ESSER dollars)  

  • $4 million ARP  
  • Attendance recovery program for all districts that opt in to serve eligible students. 
  • Tie-barred to HB 4082 

Finally, HB 4420 is an additional supplemental spending bill for various state departments. Included in General Fund appropriations is a section for the legislature to allocate $1 million dollars to the General Auditor or a third party to conduct two studies. One half of the funding would be used for a study that compares pupil learning loss across virtual, hybrid, and in-person instruction in the state of Michigan. The other half would be used for a study to examine the effect of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, shutdowns, and other mandates on COVID-19 outcomes in Michigan, including the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.  

One final note, while many districts serve school of choice students, choice students remain ineligible for summer school grants under existing law. The supplemental does not make those changes. We are actively working to get that language changed. It appears this was an oversight in the original spending plan passed last month, but any efforts members can make to discuss this issue with lawmakers will help move the needle on the advocacy front.  

Overall, the supplemental bill seems like a good proposal for the education community. We remain concerned about its viability with a tie-bar to a bill that limits gubernatorial authority, but the broad strokes are wins for the school community.

This Week's Introduced Bills

HB 4663 (Camilleri) Requires a certified library media specialist for each school library operated by the school district. The specialist would work collaboratively with classroom teachers and principals or comparable school administrators to provide literacy instruction to pupils to ensure that they are achieving grade level reading proficiency.  

HB 4664 (Koleszar) Requires every public school to maintain a school library that is operated on a flexible schedule that allows pupils and teachers access to the resources of the school library when it is necessary or convenient for pupil learning. The bill also requires that the library serve as a community resource as determined appropriate by the school.  

HB 4665 (O’Neal) Requires that a principal or comparable administrator of a public school that operates a school library to designate an individual to supervise pupils in the school library when a certified media specialist is not present, and the school library is open to pupils. This individual shall not provide instruction unless they have the appropriate certification.  

SB 369 (Geiss) Requires that elementary schools offer at least 90 minutes per week of instruction in music and art, taught by a certified instructor. The bill would also require that na elementary school have at least 1 space that is designated for music instruction and 1 space for visual art instruction. Additionally, the bills would require a dedicated budget for music and art instruction.  

SB 374 (Nesbitt) Allows for a stop-arm camera system on school buses. The bill would define stop-arm camera systems as a system of 2 or more cameras affixed to a school bus and outlines the requirements for the camera.  

SB 376 (Wojno) Revises the judicature act to provide for the civil infraction proposed in SB 377.  

SB 377  (Wojno) Provides for a $500 civil infraction fine for an individual fails to stop for a school bus. A school district that uses stop-arm camera systems shall provide a photograph or video captured by the stop-arm camera for use as evidence in a proceeding if requested by law enforcement.  

SB 380 (Irwin) Provides for prescreening for dyslexia in public schools for every student in grades k-3.  

SB 381 (Theis) Requires teacher preparation institutions to offer instruction for individuals in a K-6 program on the characteristics of dyslexia.  

SB 382 (Polehanki) Requires teacher certification requirements to include coverage of the characteristics of dyslexia, secondary consequences of dyslexia, evidenced based interventions, accommodations, and MTSS framework.  

SB 383 (Runestad) Creates a dyslexia resource guide advisory committee within the department of education.  

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