February. 12, 2014

Governor Snyder's Budget Plan Includes Improvements in 3rd Grade Reading, At-Risk Students and Career Tech
Yesterday was a big day for the state budget in Michigan.  Governor Rick Snyder released his budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on October 1, 2015 and ends September 30, 2016.  At the same time, he also issued Executive Order 2015-5 to address the revenue shortfall that Michigan is facing in the current state budget.

Much of the shortfall in the FY2015 budget will be addressed by shifting School Aid dollars that won’t affect current year programs, and federal funds through shifts in caseload.  Programs that will see cuts in the negative supplemental include the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, Graduate Medical Education to support the training of doctors in Michigan, local public health departments who have seen cuts over many years, and others.

As anticipated, Governor Snyder focused his education efforts in the FY2016 budget on improving third grade reading, supporting at-risk students, and expanding career and tech education. 

The Governor acknowledges that his recommendations to address 3rd grade reading proficiency are a beginning framework, and recommends a new oversight commission outside of state government to oversee implementation and monitor progress towards 3rd grade reading proficiency.  His budget proposal includes an array of supports including new state funding to:
  • provide home visits to at-risk children and their families through Intermediate School Districts ($5 million)
  • pilot parent education programs for parents of children ages 0 through 3 ($1 million + $100,000 for evaluation)
  • support professional development for kindergarten through third grade (k-3rd) teachers focused on literacy ($950,000)
  • adopt a new certification test to ensure newly-certified elementary teachers have the skills to deliver evidence-based literacy instruction ($500,000)
  • begin to administer a diagnostic tool to monitor the early literacy and reading skills of k-3rd grade students and to support professional development for teachers to interpret that data to implement a multi-tiered system of support to improve 3rd grade reading proficiency ($1.45 million)
  • provide early literacy coaches to support k-3rd grade teachers ($3 million)
  • support additional instruction time for k-3rd graders who have been identified as needing additional literacy-focused supports and interventions ($10 million)
  • establish a best practices clearinghouse on k-3rd grade literacy ($500,000)
  • field test a kindergarten entry assessment with full implementation anticipated in the 2016-2017 school year ($2.6 million)
  • expand early learning and preschool reading programs in public libraries ($1 million)
  • improve the child development and care program using $23.6 million in federal funds to extend eligibility for families receiving the child care subsidy and to increase access to higher quality care.
Governor Snyder includes a 33 percent or $100 million increase to At-Risk funding with goals to ensure students are reading by third grade and college and career ready at graduation.  At-Risk funding provides support to schools who serve students that have a variety of factors that place them at-risk of not achieving academic success. 

The Governor includes a new $17.8 million investment to support career and technical education focused early and middle college programs.  These programs allow students to achieve a high school credential while also earning an associate’s degree or college credits, or a pathway to a career such as a technical certification or apprenticeship.  The Governor also includes a new $2.2 million investment to increase the number of college advisors in schools and to increase awareness of available college and career choices.  He also recommends expanding the ability for districts to fund services for older youth to obtain a diploma beyond age 20.

While the Governor’s budget rollout yesterday did include recommendations for the Department of Community Health (DCH) and Department of Human Services (DHS) – including another expansion of the Healthy Kids Dental program (for children ages 0-8 in Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties) – the Governor indicated he would be providing a budget recommendation for the newly merged Department of Health and Human Services when Executive Order 2015-4 to merge DCH and DHS becomes effective in April.  This is part of Governor Snyder’s efforts that he announced in his State of the State address last month to focus on people rather than programs in the “River of Opportunity.”

Stay tuned to Michigan’s Children throughout the budget process; learn what the state budget means for children, youth and families; and find out how you can get involved in budget advocacy.  And, sign-up for our Early Childhood Action Network and the Graduate Michigan Action Network for more budget details as it relates to young children and older youth.

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