By Jessica Mathews /

The Michigan Legislature has finalized a bi-partisan fiscal year 2021 budget that a local lawmaker says is balanced, on time, and increases state financial support for Michigan’s K-12 schools.

Michigan lawmakers passed a $62.7 billion spending plan Wednesday. Michigan’s new fiscal year begins October 1st. Bills were made public yesterday and quickly won final legislative approval. The budget process has been delayed due to uncertainty over tax revenues amid the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators skipped the usual process of holding committee hearings and passing competing House and Senate plans. Thanks to a federal bailout, spending will generally stay flat for the upcoming fiscal year. The K-12 school budget will rise about 1%.

A press release from Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township, which is attached, stated she successfully fought for a $66 million appropriation in Senate Bill 927, the omnibus education budget, for schools with growing attendance. Theis chairs the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. She says the education budget includes a $65 per student increase in state aid payments for all schools, in addition to restoring the $175 per pupil reduction made to balance the prior FY 2020 budget. It also includes $37 (m) million for student mental health support and $3 million more for early childhood literacy.

Also approved was House Bill 5396, the general omnibus budget. Theis says it protects local revenue sharing to support local police departments, fire departments, paramedics and first responders and provides $7 million to graduate at least 50 new state troopers. Theis noted the budget also fully funds a 2015 plan to help fix the state’s roads and includes $20 million to ensure nursing homes have adequate personal protective equipment to protect staff and residents, $26 million for the Going Pro program to help train workers, $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help people complete an associate degree or skills certificate, $15 million in the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and $35 million into the state’s rainy day fund.

The budget bills now head to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for signing.