May 12, 2015

What’s in Play for Educational Equity in State Budget Plans for FY2016    

The Michigan House and Senate passed their respective versions of the FY2016 School Aid and Education budgets last week. This week, top budget officials will present their new estimated revenues for the upcoming budget year starting Oct. 1.  These estimates will impact the remaining legislative conversation finalizing the state budget. 
While many program decisions agreed on by the House and Senate will not be discussed, there were differences in several key investment priorities for Michigan’s Children that will be negotiated by budget conference committees.  
  • 3rd Grade Reading Supports:  The Senate version includes $35 million in state investments targeted to early literacy efforts that support programs like parent coaching and support, and expanded learning through before- and after-school and summer learning opportunities.  The House version did not include these investments. 
  • At-Risk Funding:  The Senate plan includes an additional $100 million for schools to better serve students with challenges in their lives that impact their learning.  These funds are currently dedicated to improving third grade reading and college/career readiness.  Districts use them for an array of supports during or outside regular school hours such as tutoring services, early childhood programming, reading support, and school-based health services. The House version does not include this increase, and makes significant changes in how the funding should be targeted, removing critical groups of students.
  • Adult Education: The Senate version includes a $7 million increase to adult education funding for a total of $29 million, while the House version eliminates this program altogether. Adult education is a critical component of a two-generation strategy to move the third-grade reading benchmark, as decades of research have shown the impact of parental education on children’s education success.  In addition, it is a key strategy to recover young adults who need alternative pathways to a high school credential and beyond.
Learn more about these and other key differences that will be debated by legislative leaders over the next few weeks by visiting our Budget Basics library.  Talk to your legislators about these important programs and how they benefit your children, your students, your schools and community, and encourage them to share that information with their colleagues.

Road Funding Debate Continues after Prop 1; Attention to Children and Families Remains Critical

The dramatic defeat of Proposal 1 by voters last week kicked into gear a new round of debates for fixing Michigan roads, including different opinions about where the money to do that would come from. As we did in the run-up to the statewide referendum, Michigan’s Children will monitor the proposals that emerge to fund the state’s roads while working to ensure that important programs and services for children, youth and families, especially the most vulnerable among us, are preserved in the process. 

President & CEO Matt Gillard looks at the outcome of the election and what it means for our advocacy in this video, The Defeat of Proposal 1:  What Happens Next?

May is National Foster Care Month and Time to Revisit Michigan Policies

During National Foster Care Month, Michigan’s Children invites you to learn more about improving public policies that benefit the 13,500 children in foster care across Michigan.  Listening to their stories over the years, we’ve drafted recommendations to help improve the experiences of children and families.  Read our issues brief, Critical Issues in Foster Care and check out the National Foster Care Month website.
Advocacy tips to help you stand up and speak out for Michigan children. 
The state budget process is in the homestretch, with final negotiations between legislative leaders.  But you can still be involved.  Talk with your Legislators about the most critical investments for your families, programs and communities.     
See which legislators will lead the rest of the budget conversation and how your Legislators can impact them.
Use our Action Alert to help frame your messages. 
Spread the word by sharing links to our Action Networks. 
In the News
Most readers still not convinced on Proposal 1, Detroit Free Press, May 2, 2015
Gillard: Pass Prop 1, for the children, The Detroit News, April 28, 2015

Speaking for Kids is Michigan's Children's twice-a-month e-bulletin that offers public policy and budget information relating to children, youth and families in our state. 

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