By Mike Kruzman /

A local lawmaker is calling for the release of COVID funding to schools, but the state is saying that schools need to spend that money first.

Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township is asking that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) release funding allocated by the Legislature to help Livingston County schools cope with student learning loss and other challenges created by the pandemic. According to a release from her office, Legislature approved a measure last June to make the distribution of federal COVID-relief funds more equal for schools. The MDE has not provided schools with the application needed for applying for the funds yet.

Bollin called it “frustrating”, and said the “funding is meant to help kids make up for lost learning and get back on track.” Michigan is one of 7 states without an approved plan to distribute this third round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency funding.

Martin Ackley is the Director of the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs with the MDE. He told WHMI in an email that “School districts have been applying for, and being approved, for this funding since last fall after the U.S. Department of Education approved the state’s plan for these funds. The deadline for school districts to submit their local plans was February 15. By federal law passed by Congress, these federal funds are reimbursement-based, meaning local school districts must incur the cost first on the restricted uses laid out by Congress, then get reimbursed with the federal funds. By federal mandate, local school districts do not get these funds up-front."

A full copy of Bollin’s release can be found attached below.