Whitmer’s budget calls for $235 million to be added to the state’s foundation allowance and a $180 increase of per-pupil funding. She is also proposing $120 million to increase state reimbursement to school districts for special education services and $102 million to increase state support for economically disadvantaged, academically at-risk students.

That would provide an estimated $894 per eligible pupil. At a board of education meeting Thursday, Pinckney Superintendent Rick Todd spoke to the education portion of Whitmer’s proposed budget, sharing how it would benefit the district in a variety of ways.

Todd says, “We’re encouraged that she is recognizing the additional costs that are tied to students with special needs or specialized programs like our CTE (Career and Technical Education) … to support students, whether they need special accommodations or modifications in the classroom or they’re in a robotics class. There’s just extra resources that you need to do a quality job to make sure the kids are successful and often we don’t have the additional funds to do that.”

Todd says district officials have had to be creative when trying to find ways to support those specialty programs or accommodations, whether that is in the form of grants or pulling money from the district’s general fund. Todd says Whitmer is recognizing that education is not an even playing field for students.

Whitmer’s budget would allocate $50 million to provide additional career and technical education opportunities for students. That equates to approximately $487 per eligible student; a significant hike from the current spending of about $50 per student. (DK)