Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am most effective at my job when acting on your direct input. I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or concerns that you may have regarding our community or state and with any policy ideas.
Please do not hesitate to reach out by phone at (517) 373-0853 or send an email to AngelaWitwer@house.gov.
State Representative, 71st House District
In This Issue:
- Upcoming Coffee Hours
- Fall Senior Fair
- In-District Update
- Legislative Update
- General Update
Upcoming Coffee Hours
Please join me for one of my virtual or in-person Weekly Wrap-ups With Witwer. You can find the event on my Facebook page. Please also like and follow my page to stay connected with updates from the Capitol. I look forward to seeing you at a coffee hour soon!
Upcoming Coffee Hour:
- 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26 at Flour Child Bakery in Grand Ledge.
Fall Senior Fair
Mark your calendars for our upcoming Fall Senior Fair on Healthy Aging on Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m. to noon.
Last week, I was inducted into the Delta-Waverly Rotary Club and was honored to be their speaker for this month’s meeting. I provided a legislative update and highlighted some big district accomplishments throughout the year.
August Small Business of the Month Winner: Mitten Misfits Farm Sanctuary
I’d like to congratulate Mitten Misfits Farm Sanctuary in Delta Township, the August small business of the month winner!
If you own a business or know of a business that you think should be recognized for its outstanding service to the community and its customers, please fill out the form here. I look forward to reading your submissions and showcasing a new small business in our community for September!
Passage of State Budget
The Michigan House of Representatives passed a budget that includes significant investments in education, health care and the economy, including $50 million to promote development projects that promise to attract key manufacturing jobs to the state and $3 million for the Office of Rural Development. The budget also includes $1 million for the Charlotte Fire Department.
I’m grateful that we were able to agree on a budget that prioritizes economic development, especially in rural communities. I’m also pleased that our efforts to secure funding for Charlotte firefighters have paid off. This budget will ensure the safety of our community and the prosperity of our state.
Passage of the School Aid Budget
The Michigan House of Representatives also passed the historic fiscal 2022-23 School Aid budget. This budget increases the foundation allowance by 5%, bringing per-pupil funding to a record-breaking $9,150. It also includes $168 million for school safety grants, $250 million for student mental health services and over $450 million for the Great State Readiness Program to expand access to preschool education.
These are just a few of the great priorities this School Aid budget supports. I was proud to vote for it.
Session & Committee
The House will not meet until Sept. 21.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Background
Until Oct. 31, the U.S. Department of Education is offering public servants working in government and eligible nonprofits a second chance to qualify for student loan forgiveness. An estimated 154,000 public service workers in Michigan could be eligible for student loan debt relief under the PSLF waiver. According to the Office of Federal Student Aid’s June report, over 6,000 Michiganders have taken advantage of the PSLF waiver and have had $358 million in loans forgiven.
The recent changes to the PSLF program allow previously ineligible borrowers — those with a non-direct loan, who are not enrolled in an income driven repayment plan, who have missed a repayment or made a partial repayment in the past, receive credit toward loan forgiveness for the years they worked in government or a qualifying nonprofit.
To apply for the PSLF waiver, borrowers should:
- Visit studentaid.gov/pslf/employer-search/search-tool to verify their employer qualifies for PSLF.
- Submit a certified copy of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification form to the U.S. Department of Education before Oct. 31.
If borrowers have questions regarding their individual situation, they can visit studentaid.gov/pslf/ or call FedLoan Servicing at (855) 265-4038.
Enroll 4-Year-Old Kids in Free Preschool Program
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Education are encouraging parents of four-year-old children across Michigan to contact their local school districts or visit GreatStarttoQuality.org to explore getting their children enrolled in a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) — Michigan’s nationally recognized, state-funded preschool for 4-year-olds.
In 2021, Gov. Whitmer announced a bold plan to expand GSRP to ensure more Michigan children could get a great start to a quality education. Last summer, she signed into law the largest expansion of GSRP in the state’s history — allowing Michigan to eliminate waiting lists and serve 22,000 additional 4-year-olds. This year, the governor continued to work with the Legislature to take the next step in expansion and help recruit enough teachers and classrooms to serve all eligible children.
The expansion of GSRP increases the opportunity for families to enroll their children in programs that will better prepare students for kindergarten. Children that attend GSRP are more likely to enter school ready to learn, read by third grade and graduate from high school on time.
The GSRP program meets all 10 quality benchmarks recommended by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), such as having teacher credentials, low staff-child ratios, smaller class sizes and a research-based curriculum.
Parents can apply for GSRP’s 2022-23 program year now! Parents can search for local GSRP programs through Michigan’s Great Start to Quality website or apply directly through their local intermediate school district here.