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Michigan House passes “Return to Learn” school package

students sitting in a classroom in front of whiteboard
Taylor Wilcox

A series of education bills is on its way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. On Monday, the Michigan House approved a three-bill package that amends the State School Aid Act to account for virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also allow districts to prioritize in-person instruction for grades K-through-5.

The pandemic has altered how schools will do business this fall, and the bills address both in-person and virtual enrollment and attendance.

Representative Sheryl Kennedy is a former middle school principal. The Davison Democrat says the package is the best lawmakers can do at this time.

“We could negotiate for another four or five months," Kennedy said. "But, we need to do what government is sent here to do; and that is, to make the government work. That means to get schools open.”

Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) chairs the House education committee and supports the bills. She criticizes those whom she says have lobbied for everyone in education except for students and their families.

“This is fair warning: I will be calling you out," Hornberger said. "I will be demanding accountability and transparency, which is what these bills do. From here on out, if you are not prepared to join me in putting students and families first, you need to get out of the way.”

The bills call for funding levels that combine last year’s pupil count with the upcoming count that will take place in October.

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