“In a time where our educators, students and their families deserve certainty, security and empathy the most, the Legislature passed a return to learning plan that largely makes this difficult to achieve. The public schools in my communities have shouldered the burden of our state’s systemic underfunding of education for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to make this reality starker.

“And some of our largest public school districts and counties were cut out of these important discussions, rather than welcomed to the table with open arms. Each student comes from a different background and set of circumstances in life, and so too, do our school districts. We had an opportunity to use this return to learning legislation to work in tandem with educators and administrators from across Michigan, but instead moved forward without comprehensive input from those impacted the most by our decisions.

“Students had their last school year cut short, causing immense disruptions in their opportunities and access to the quality education they deserve; and as fall approaches, many have even lost loved ones to this deadly disease. Tying funding to testing requirements, when many school districts find themselves in a position unable to offer these mandated assessments, will only serve to create added stress for educators, administrators and many of our school districts.

“In good conscience, I could not vote in favor of the package that passed the Legislature this week. Our hardworking educators, dedicated administrators and the bright young minds of our state deserve better.”