Legislation includes increased funding for U.P. schools
State Rep. Beau LaFave and the Michigan House today approved a bipartisan agreement to help K-12 students safely return to school this fall.
LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said the plan will allow school districts to determine the best course of action for their students, be it online, in person, or hybrid instruction, based on consultations with local health departments.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an additional hurdle in front of many of students, parents and teachers alike as the upcoming school year nears,” LaFave said. “There’s been much uncertainty surrounding whether or not schools resume in-classroom instruction or take learning plans online. If we’ve learned anything from this public health crisis, it’s that certain regions across Michigan have been impacted more than others. A one-size-fits-all approached is not the solution our schools need, our parents want or students deserve. Instead, we are empowering schools to work with local health departments to establish protocols that best work for their community. We need to give our schools the flexibility they need to provide robust learning plans that help maximize student learning while balancing the importance of public health and safety.”
LaFave also said providing parents with the opportunity to voice their concerns is crucial to keep the school district and community informed of needed adaptations and hold locally elected officials accountable. Under the legislation, school boards will be required to reexamine and recertify how they are delivering instruction to students at their monthly board meetings for the duration of the 2020-21 school year.
Additionally, local benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track. Under the plan, if districts determine that it is safe to offer in-person learning, they are encouraged, but not required, to prioritize in-person instruction to K-5 students.
As the coming school year will also pose significant additional costs to school districts as they work to impose new safety standards and innovative teaching methods, the Legislature previously dedicated a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to Michigan schools, including:
- $350 per student across the board, ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate children.
- More than $50 million in hazard pay for educators who have been flexible and innovative in the face of unprecedented change.
- $18 million for safety measures and local benchmark assessments to ensure kids stay on track with learning.
The plan now advances to the governor’s desk for consideration.
State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, and Greg Markkanen, of Hancock, today said they both support a new state budget approved by the Michigan House that protects funding for K-12 schools, local communities and other shared top priorities of Upper Peninsula families.
State Rep. Beau LaFave today testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of his plan to clarify Michigan’s state laws to protect the private property rights of Michigan residents.