Dear Friend,

I hope you and your family are enjoying the summer. My team and I remain committed to helping constituents with their questions and issues, keeping residents up to date on what’s happening at the Capitol and providing useful resources. Please contact us at (517) 373-0822 or at if we can be of assistance.


Rachel Hood

State Representative, 76th House District

School Aid Budget

On July 13, Gov. Whitmer signed House Bill 4411, the School Aid budget, into law. This budget makes the largest investment in preK-12 schools in Michigan’s history. The signing of HB 4411 marks a historic moment for the state by reaching the goal of eliminating the funding gap between districts. The bill finalizes the fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget, which totals $17.1 billion, including $85.4 million from the state’s general fund, and provides cost adjustments and supplemental funding for the current 2021 year.

The fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget also increases access to early education through the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides preschool to families at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The new investment includes $121 million in federal funding and $47.5 million from the School Aid Fund, for a total investment of $168.5 million. The full-day per child allocation is increased from $7,250 to $8,700, and additional funding is provided to expand the program.

In addition to closing the gap and increasing access to preschool programing, the 2022 School Aid Budget makes strategic investments in the following:

  • The budget recognizes the need for additional school counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers by providing $240 million over three years for additional hirings in high-need districts. After three years, these new hires are fully funded in an ongoing manner by the district.
  • The mental health of our students continues to be a top priority. This budget provides an increase of $17 million to support school-based mental health programming, which will help ensure our students have access to the resources they need to live happy and healthy lives.
  • Additional investments for special education in the amount of $74.2 million will ensure our students and educators can excel in the classroom.
  • The budget also provides funds for students who need them the most through a weighted funding formula which distributes education dollars more equitably.
  • Maintains funding for economically disadvantaged populations and adds $1.5 million for dental screenings.
  • Supports for English language learners are increased by 4% and proration of funding is eliminated with an investment of $12.2 million.
  • The budget incentivizes districts to adopt a year-round school calendar by helping to provide for HVAC and infrastructure improvements that will improve learning spaces. An investment of $75 million in federal funding will assist in providing matching grants, and $60 million from the School Aid Fund will increase foundation allowances for eligible districts by 3% for three years.
  • The budget includes $10 million to support school safety initiatives. Funding provides up to $50,000 per school building or $250,000 per school district.
  • Support for children impacted by the drinking water emergency in Flint is increased by $2.4 million.

 Important Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information

Following recent U.S Department of Labor guidance, the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has changed the qualifications necessary to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The UIA is now reevaluating claimants’ eligibility based upon a new list of approved reasons. There are four reasons that no longer qualify, and claimants who selected one of those reasons during certification will need to reestablish their eligibility for PUA. The following reasons may no longer be used:

  • Your work hours were reduced as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are seeking part-time employment and are affected by COVID-19.
  • You have insufficient work history to qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are affected by COVID-19.
  • You are unemployed or working less than regular hours as a result of COVID-19 and were denied benefits on another claim.

If you received the letter “Notice of Expanded Eligibility Reasons for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)” and have been paid PUA benefits, you must submit a new reason (self-attestation) for unemployment within 20 days in order to continue your eligibility for those benefits. To resubmit your self-attestation, log into your MiWAM account and click on the “Requalify for PUA” link under the “Alerts” tab. When providing your self-attestation, you may select more than one COVID-19 related reason. Select as many reasons as apply to your situation, and do not select reasons that do not directly apply to you.

Once your updated self-attestation of eligibility is received and processed, it will be evaluated, and a determination will be issued to notify you of your eligibility. If you are eligible for benefits, you will be paid. If it is found that you are not eligible, you can file an appeal of the determination.

If it is determined that you do not qualify for PUA and you owe restitution for benefits improperly paid to you, UIA will also evaluate the overpayment to determine if the overpayment should be waived so that you do not have to pay the restitution. If you owe restitution and are granted a waiver, UIA will issue a separate determination notifying you of both. The UIA will waive any improper payments due to these changed eligibility requirements so long as they find no issues of fraud or misrepresentation on the filer’s behalf.

Increasing Access to Affordable, Reliable Broadband

Over 1.2 million Michiganders today do not have reliable internet connections. As we have seen living during a pandemic, the need for reliable and affordable high-speed internet has never been greater. My colleagues and I have also introduced a high-speed internet package that will strengthen our broadband infrastructure, create jobs, grow our economy and improve education access. Currently, there are federal programs that are instrumental in expanding access to critical broadband services.

Emergency Broadband Benefit

This is a program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill (and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). In addition, some internet service providers are also providing discounts on the purchase of internet-capable devices, like laptop computers.

More than one million Americans enrolled in this program during its first week. Some of the most common ways that families qualify are:

  • They participate in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit.
  • They experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and had a total household income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
  • They received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
  • They were approved for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program.
  • They meet the eligibility criteria for their internet service provider’s pre-existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Visit to learn more and enroll, call (833) 511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week or sign up directly with your internet service provider.

A full list of the internet service providers in our state that are offering the Emergency Broadband Benefit program can be found here. Providers can sign up at any time to become an EBB provider.

Broadband Infrastructure Grants Available Through NTIA

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the rules for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant program that was created under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This program will provide a total of $288 million in grants to public-private partnerships established to expand broadband service.

Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Soon to Be Available through FCC

The Federal Communications Commission has released a Report and Order providing details about the Emergency Connectivity Fund created under the American Rescue Plan, which will provide $7.1 billion in grants that can support schools and libraries in providing connectivity to students, school staff and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and high-speed internet service sufficient for remote learning.