• Whitmer today announced $65M in federal CARES Act funds to support local K-12 public schools impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Included in the $65M is funding to address issues highlighted by House Democrats during Monday’s House Session in a series of amendments offered on the House Floor.
  • The amendments offered by House Democrats were not adopted by GOP leadership.

LANSING, Mich., — As the Michigan House of Representatives took up the Return to Learn education package during the August 17 House Session, House Democrats offered a series of amendments to address challenges facing Michigan students and teachers that have become even more urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments were not adopted by GOP leadership.

Today, Gov. Whitmer announced the allocation of $65M in federal CARES Act funds from the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund to support local K-12 public schools that have been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This funding included $5.4M to support the statewide tools and services sought to include during consideration of the Return to Learn Package. This funding will provide:

  • $1.5M for statewide mental health and social-emotional learning supports (amendment originally offered by Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia).
  • $1.4M to implement teacher professional learning practices and standards to train teachers on digital communication tools and online instructional strategies (amendment originally offered by Rep. Padma Kuppa, D-Troy).
  • $1.5M to support educational programming on public television (amendment originally offered by Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit).
  • $1M to support Early On, allowing the existing program to reach more infants and toddlers through remote early intervention (amendment originally offered by Rep. Nate Shannon, D-Sterling Heights).

“Children are not immune to the stress of navigating the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, in fact, they may be more sensitive to it,” said Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D- Livonia). “Children are attuned to the anxieties facing the adults around them and will need special care to help them understand and cope. This funding will help ensure that students not only continue their education this fall, they continue their emotional and psychological development with support that sufficiently reflects the state of the world right now.”

“Early intervention in developmental delays has a powerful positive effect on a child’s academic career, the pandemic crisis does not change that fact,” said Rep. Nate Shannon (D- Sterling Heights). “The Early On program has been instrumental in setting young children up for success once they reach school age. As we work to address the COVID-related challenges facing students this year, we must ensure that young children preparing to enter school for the first time are not left behind. Maintaining proper funding for Early On is vital to our state’s continued effort to improve education, we could not let it fall by the wayside as our attention shifts this year.”

The majority of the CARES Act funding ($60M) will go directly to school districts that serve a student population that is at least 50 percent “economically disadvantaged”. Districts may use these desperately needed funds to improve connectivity, address learning loss, support out-of-school-time learning and offer other health, safety and wellness needs highlighted in the MI Return to School Roadmap.

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