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Gov. Whitmer calls for big boost in state education spending

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she wants to use federal COVID relief funds and a surprise increase in state tax revenue to invest more in public education in Michigan.

Whitmer proposes $1.7 billion in one-time funding and over $900 million for ongoing investment. 

A key part of the governor’s plan is to spend $262 million to close the funding gap between lower and higher income communities.

Among other priorities, Whitmer wants school districts to hire and retain more educators, psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses.

“We need to do more to make sure that we meet the academic recovery needs of our students...emotional needs, the physical needs,” Whitmer said during a news conference in Bay City.

Michigan’s two largest teachers’ unions support the governor’s proposal.

American Federation of teachers union president David Hecker says the changes the governor is proposing are “long overdue.” Michigan Education Association president Paula Herbart describes the governor’s proposal as “a massive opportunity.”

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey's spokeswoman released a statement saying Senate Republicans will "take the governor’s proposal into consideration."

“This isn’t a Republican or Democratic plan,” says Whitmer. “This helps every student in every school across the state of Michigan.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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