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  • President Kay Walker-Telma

  • Education Leaders 2021

  • Senator Debbie Stabenow With MEA-Retired Members Jack & Jo Ellis

The State Senate passed the 2021-22 K-12 school budget, adding additional funding.

Jul 16, 2021

Details on historic K-12 budget passed by Legislature

On Wednesday, the State Senate passed the 2021-22 K-12 school budget, adding additional funding to what was already the largest proposed investment in K-12 public schools in the state’s history.

The Senate made changes to HB 4411 that added $300 million to the amount agreed to last week by the Governor and the House, putting the new figure for historic investment in Michigan students at more than $17.1 billion. Early Wednesday evening, the House voted to concur with the Senate’s changes and sent the budget on to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her approval.

The bill’s main feature – the elimination of the per pupil gap in the basic foundation allowance, which has existed since 1994 when Proposal A was enacted. This will bring all districts to the same foundation allowance of $8,700 per pupil (an increase of between $171 and $589 per pupil).

Another item maintained in the bill was $362 million the House added last week for the 2020-21 current fiscal year in federal coronavirus relief equalization payments.  This funding assures all districts will receive at least $1,093 per pupil from the federal aid package, especially for those districts on the lower end of the Title I formula.

Some additional highlights of this new budget include the following:

  • A $285 million increase for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, as well as a $560 million deposit into the MPSERS Retirement Obligation Reform Reserve Fund.
  • A $168 million increase for the Great Start Readiness Program to add 22,000 openings for eligible 4-year-olds. Also full day funding was increased to $8,700 per pupil, matching the K-12 foundation allowance.
  • $240 million of new money to help hire additional school psychologists, social workers, counselors and nurses.
  • An additional $44.4 million for special education.
  • NOTE: State funding for universities and community colleges were not included in this bill – action is still pending on those budgets.

Also added by the Senate was $155 million for reading scholarships administered by Grand Valley State University in a voucher-like program. MEA opposed this concept in previous budget iterations.

In a move to promote more schools with a “balanced calendar,” the Senate added $135 million for districts operating year-round calendars, with $75 million federal funding for one-time HVAC/capital improvements and an additional $60 million for operational cost for districts operating year-round calendars.

As MEA experts dive deeper into the details of the 2021-22 K-12 budget, please stay tuned for more updates (along with developments regarding the higher education budgets for next year.)

Salute to all educators

May 11, 2021

Welcome to May! This week, May 2-8, has been designated Teacher Appreciation Week by NEA.

All of our active members, no matter what their job description, are heroes every day, but especially during the past 14 months for helping students, families, communities and each other navigate the myriad of challenges that have resulted from COVID-19.

Take a little bit of time this week to thank educators for their tireless efforts. Bring some treats to a school bus garage. Write a note of appreciation to local association leaders in the district where you worked and ask that it be distributed to members. Treat a couple of former colleagues who are still active members for coffee or Happy Hour, or bring a meal to them.

Click on the link below for some more ideas:


Whitmer Outlines Urgent Priorities in MEA RA Speech

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke to delegates at the virtual MEA Representative Assembly last weekend about a variety of pressing issues on which educators need to make their voices heard.


Whitmer said billions in federal relief dollars for public schools in Michigan represent a can’t-be-missed, once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our state’s children and system of education.  But first, the Republican-controlled Legislature must release the aid sent by Congress, and making that happen should be everyone’s priority. “I’ve made my priorities on how to spend that money clear: It’s investing in our people, in the education of our kids and skills of our workers, putting it toward small businesses and families and investments in our mutual future,” Whitmer said.

In contrast, she noted, the GOP leadership has entangled the money in political fights – by tying the federal funding for schools to their proposals to get rid of executive powers that Whitmer has used to protect lives during the public health crisis.

“The federal government has sent us these resources, and legislators need us to give it to our students and our schools and our educators,” she said. “We’ve got a chance to make a once-in-a-lifetime investment in our kids and their learning and growth and your profession. We can’t afford to waste this opportunity.

“We’re going to need your help to encourage lawmakers in the legislature to get these federal funds out the door so they can support our schools.”

The Legislature still has $841 million in federal COVID relief funding from December to send out to schools – and the recently-passed American Rescue Plan contained another $3.7 billion for Michigan schools that needs to be distributed over the months to come.


Whitmer praised educators for “leading the way for our state” in getting vaccinated beginning in January when she prioritized K-12 school employees for the shots. She cited an MEA survey in early April that showed nearly 90 percent of members were fully or partially vaccinated.

“Prioritizing educators in the vaccination drive was really important to me as your governor, as your friend, as your ally, and also as a parent. I want to thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and your family and our communities from COVID. “Now to hit our goal of 70% vaccination rates, you’re posting online and talking to your neighbors and friends. Encouraging people to get vaccinated is really important because I know the community trusts their educators, and as usual, you’re leading the way for our state.”

To learn more about the public vaccination effort, including where shots can be obtained,




Testing Accountability

Whitmer noted she has included educator voices at every planning step of the pandemic, including now with appointments of MEA President Paula Herbart and member Greg Talberg – a high school teacher in Howell – to the Student Recovery Advisory Council, which is developing recommendations.


The governor said she would continue to join MEA members in pressing for legislative changes to remove student test scores from teacher evaluations and school districts’ A-F accountability grades, and to prevent third graders from being retained based on M-STEP results amid the pandemic.


“Given that data we will receive from state assessments won’t give us insight and will be unrepresentative of what’s really happening, no student or educator should be penalized based on test results this year.”


Please join MEA’s CALL TO ACTION on these issues today!


Delegates participate in Annual Meeting, Representative Assembly


Thanks to Zoom and Administrative Assistant Lisa Fox, the first Virtual MEA-Retired Annual Meeting happened Tuesday, April 6. Despite a few technical glitches, the meeting allowed the event to happen for the first time in two years. Bonnie Urlaub and Connie Boylan were re-elected by acclamation as MAHE Representative and ESP Alternate to the Board respectively. Delegates elected 12 MEA-PAC

Council representatives in an online election prior to the meeting, and in an online election held April 12, they approved the 2021-2022 budget and re-elected Jim Sparapani as ESP Board Member.


Nearly 400 delegates, including 32 MEA-Retired members, were part of the Virtual MEA Representative Assembly held Friday evening and Saturday, April 23-24. Delegates approved the proposed 2021-2022 MEA Budget, re-elected Marcia Mackey and Alfonso Salais to three-year terms and Anthony Pennock to the NEA Board for a two-year term on the NEA Board of Directors.



Sarah Says: From NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman


“Under it; over it; around it or through it. Nothing will stop me from doing it!” 


 I just love that philosophy, and isn’t that what we’ve been doing for nearly a year and a half now?  When I was graduated from high school, our theme plastered on everything was “This Far and Farther”--- same thing, right? Spring gives us an extra boost with sunshine, flowers, and today, right outside my window birds are singing as though it’s a new skill. Nevertheless, the reality of the to-do list looms, and we must move on. Perhaps an extra burst of spring energy will help, but nothing beats

goals and strategies to accomplish that eternal list. I love to cross things off, but I can’t cheat when it’s written down as a reminder. “Just do it,” I say, and with a little effort, and sometimes a lot of effort and time, it all gets done! May your spring energy see you through your list as we continue together to move the work of NEA Retired forward!





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