FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – $22.2 billion. That’s how much money is pouring into the state education budget with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s approval on Thursday.
The record plan calls for $19.6 billion for K-12, with just over $9,000 per student – the most in state history!
The budget provides funds for current and one-time expenses and covers a wide range of needs, from school safety to mental health to special education.
Overall, parents, students and teachers seem thrilled with what this budget has in store for us. And everyone has their own item that they are most looking forward to.
“It’s like, stuff that we need, but they were always like ‘we don’t have enough for that’. So attention and people noticing it is good,” said student Flint. and honoring athlete Ny’Asia Scott.
She said she is looking forward to the $361 million for mental health services, believing the extra funding will help prevent troubled children from falling through the cracks.
“Most of the time people approach him as a bad kid. But I think some kids are just misunderstood and need attention and help,” Scott said.
Flint’s mother, Jumaanah Mixon, whose son is starting kindergarten in the fall, said she was thrilled with the $25 million for building updates, including air conditioning.
“Now I can’t understand what the teacher is saying because I’m focused on sweating. So, you know. I think it’s important for them to have air conditioning,” she said , thinking back to his own time in Flint schools.
But what excites 6th grade teacher Karen Christian is the $246 million for special education.
In a district where about a quarter of students have special needs due to Flint’s water crisis, she says the money will allow them to expand the often underfunded program.
“It’s good to see that we’re actually going to get some money as most of our funds come directly from the general fund…Having that will be a big boost for us to be able to bring in other people our special including students need,” she explained.
Of the money remaining in the education budget, about $2 billion will go to state universities and just over $530 million is for community colleges.