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‘Students first’ -- Gov. Whitmer proposes 2023 state budget

One group of educators said funding for some very important programs have been left out of the...
One group of educators said funding for some very important programs have been left out of the proposal.(WILX)
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 10:24 PM EST
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GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WILX) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized Wednesday the importance of children in school and the funding that goes along with it.

Whitmer announced her $74.1 billion budget proposal in front of educators and community members Wednesday afternoon in Grand Ledge.

“This budget puts Michigan students first,” Whitmer said. “It will, one, make our schools safer; two, help our students catch up; three, support our teachers; and four, ensure that every kid can go back to being a kid.”

While education was a huge focus for the budget, the pandemic really highlighted the areas where funding is needed most. One group of educators said funding for some very important programs have been left out of the proposal.

“The nonprofit section was not considered at all in this budget,” said Barbara Schmidt, the executive director of Capital Area Literacy Coalition (CALC). “Even though we tried to get our word in.”

CALC is a nonprofit that helps students of all ages with the ability to read. Schmidt said it’s a need that has grown substantially throughout the pandemic.

“Our G.E.D. enrollment has gone way up. We do have kids from 16 years old through people in their 50s, honestly,” Schmidt said. “A lot of people have come in because they can’t get a job anymore without that. So they’re really desperate to get going.”

Schmidt said, in the simplest words, they’re running out of time.

“I mean it’s imperative. We can’t go on like this without funding. We’re picking up the slack for a lot of people who are quitting school, who have given up on online,” Schmidt said. “We don’t see that number going down. We see it continue to go up.”

The budget proposal is just a proposal still. The Legislature and Whitmer are still able to make alterations.

A complete breakdown of the $74.1 billion budget proposal can be read here.

Related: Michigan schools struggle to meet 75% attendance rate -- Teachers’ unions ask for change

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