Whitmer Presents Budget Proposal to NorthEd Superintendents | News


TRAVERSE CITY — Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a virtual visit to the Career-Tech Center in Traverse City to share her budget proposal for the state of Michigan with superintendents of the Northwestern Education Services Middle School District.

Whitmer shared his $74.1 billion budget for the state of Michigan on Wednesday, including $18.4 billion for education. The education plan in Whitmer’s proposed budget recommends a wide range of investments in teacher retention, mental health services and efforts to address pandemic learning loss.

On Friday, Whitmer met with NorthEd Superintendent Nick Ceglarek and other ISD education officials on Zoom to present his proposed budget. The event was scheduled to take place in person at NorthEd’s Career-Tech Center in Traverse City, but poor weather prevented the governor from making the trip north.

Ceglarek said Whitmer is a “champion for students and education in Michigan.”

“It’s been a very, very difficult two years, and I’m so proud of the superintendents and superintendents in our area who have worked together. They have worked tirelessly to keep our schools open in person,” Ceglarek said. “And we really appreciate your efforts to make sure we continue to get flexibility so we can continue to operate in person.”

February is also Career and Tech Month, so ISD kicked off the meeting with presentations from high school students who participate in Career-Tech programs within ISD and Whitmer presented a proclamation celebrating NorthEd’s Career-Tech Center.

Welding student Carter Shepard of Traverse City Central High School presented a piece of welded art to the Governor, Academy of Engineering students Will Finnegan of Central High School and Madison Brown of Grand Traverse Academy presented their Student-designed robots and Academy of Engineering students Ryan Novak and Kass Caugh of Traverse City West Senior High School spoke about their work in the Autonomous Vehicle Challenge.

Among the many investments in education that Whitmer proposed in her budget, she recommended that $31 million be dedicated to vocational education and vocational and technical education, an increase in funding per pupil of $8,700 at $9,135, $361 million for student mental health services and $1.6 billion for educator retention programs.

“I know how difficult the past two years have been for all of us, but certainly in our education system, the incredible added stress you all have gone through to meet the needs of our students and their families,” Whitmer said. . “I am overwhelmed by the incredible job you have done under the most difficult of circumstances.”

The governor’s budget proposal is a higher dollar amount than in recent years, in part because of one-time COVID relief dollars. It’s also not definitive; it still has to be negotiated by the state legislature, which currently has a Republican majority.

Whitmer emphasized the importance of the voice of educators in the legislature’s budget review process and encouraged educators on the call to stay engaged.

“Your voices are really important and some of your voices informed the budget I presented, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Whitmer said. “We need to stay engaged while the legislature begins to do its job.”

As previously reported, schools in Northern Michigan have faced their share of staffing and substitute shortages that have sometimes closed classrooms for days and caused some school districts to hire uncertified applicants.

One of the main causes of the teacher shortage is the declining enrollment in teacher certification programs. For this, Whitmer proposed that $600 million from the state budget be dedicated to educator recruitment programs, which includes scholarships for teacher certification programs and stipends for student teachers. .

Despite some speculation from Republican lawmakers, Whitmer said one-time federal pandemic relief funds will not be used for ongoing spending to ensure money for education addresses long-term problems. Instead, she said, her budget proposes that one-time funding be directed to the state’s “rainy day fund.”

“It’s really strategic in terms of: how do you address the teacher shortage? How to attract more people to the profession? How can we thank people who put their own health on the line to continue to ensure that they can meet the needs of our children? said Whitmer. “That’s what drove it.”

Whitmer’s proposed education plan also includes:

  • $222 million to fully fund supports for economically disadvantaged students
  • $150 million to increase support for students in difficulty
  • $66 million for school safety programs
  • $50 million for before and after school programs to help students with unfinished learning needs
  • $56 million to the Great Start Readiness Program, Michigan’s free preschool program.

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