Governor Whitmer Shares Proposed State Budget
Governor Gretchen Whitmer shared her proposed 2021 state budget with the Joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee, highlighting increases in funding for education, supporting Michigan families and the environment.
The $61.9 billion proposed budget is a 3.9% increase from the current fiscal year. We’re sharing key highlights from the budget related to some of the work of Michigan philanthropy.
The governor is proposing a $290 million increase in per-pupil funding for public schools to a base of $8,336, up from $8,111. School districts with fewer resources will receive $225 more per pupil.
The budget also includes an increase of $60 million to support students who have special needs, which includes funding for one-on-one specialists.
An increase of $60 million is earmarked for students who are academically at-risk and/or economically disadvantaged. This will provide an estimated $830 per student, which allows districts to provide tutoring and counseling to improve academic outcomes.
The budget also provides a $50 increase per pupil for English Language Learners (ELL).
The governor’s Education Briefing Paper outlines plans to maintain $31.5 million for state-funded literacy coaches. These coaches work with teachers across the state to improve early literacy instruction. The governor’s office shared that the number of coaches was tripled in fiscal year 2020, and to ensure these coaches have the proper tools for success, the budget increases state funding for literacy essentials training by $3 million.
Higher Education: The budget includes a 2.5% increase in funding for both public universities and community colleges.
Continuing Education: $35 million in funding will go toward the Michigan Reconnect program, which provides pathways for adults to earn an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate.
Job Training: $27.9 million is allotted for grants to businesses that will support employee job training for skilled trades.
Supporting Michigan Families
$27 million is in the budget to expand access to child care for families by increasing the income eligibility limit from 130% to 150% of the federal poverty level. The proposal is expected to increase the number of children in childcare services by 5,900.
There’s a $35.5 million increase slated for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). This increase raises the allocation for a full-time preschooler by $1,086, from $7,250 to $8,336, the same level as the proposed base K-12 foundation allowance. According to the governor’s office, this is the first rate increase for children enrolled in GSRP since 2014.
There’s $12.3 million allotted to fight the state’s opioid crisis by expanding the response and assisting families and communities affected by the epidemic.
The budget also allots $10 million for a fund to prevent health issues caused by lead in Michigan homes.
A priority area of the administration, $40 million is in the budget for local grants to communities to create plans to prevent and address the impact of rising water levels caused by climate change by boosting climate-resilient infrastructure.
In addition to these main priorities, the budget also proposes a student loan refinance program, securing funding to increase physicians in rural and underserved areas and more funding for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program which is designed to increase access to health care and support for new and expectant mothers and their children.
“Our future depends on making strong investments in these core priorities, and while we cannot correct decades of underfunding overnight, particularly in the areas of education, this budget builds on last year's budget to provide additional funding in these critical areas," Whitmer said in her address.
The budget now heads to the Legislature. Due to a new process, the state Legislature must present its proposed budget plan to the governor by July 1. Once a new state budget is finalized it will go into effect on October 1.
Check out the governor’s Education Briefing Paper.
Michigan’s Prenatal-to-Three Policy Agenda
A new policy roadmap outlines how Michigan can best support children in their early years.
Michigan’s Prenatal-to-Three Collaborative, which includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and CMF, recently released its 2020-2023 policy agenda which was designed in partnership with more than 900 community leaders and members in the state.
This work emerged from Michigan receiving a competitive $100,000 planning grant last year from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative to develop a prenatal to age 3 policy agenda and create an action plan to expand high-quality services to families with babies and toddlers who live in low-income households.
According to the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC), the facilitation team for the collaborative, out of the 110,000 babies born in Michigan every year, 49% are born into low-income households.
Michigan’s policy agenda is focused on increasing the number of families with children, prenatal to 3, utilizing essential health, developmental and social-emotional support services and increasing access and enrollment to high-quality child care.
Highlights from Michigan’s policy agenda include:
Ensure that race, income or zip code does not determine a child’s destiny in Michigan.
Require that all state department employees and local providers (i.e. healthcare, education, child care) who serve and interact with families and young children participate in implicit bias training.
Require that state departments, disaggregate county and city early childhood program data by race and ethnicity and publish reports for public use.
Develop a statewide, cross-sector infant through toddler workforce strategy.
Fill child care, early intervention and home visiting workforce shortages by pursuing compensation and retention strategies successfully utilized by other states, such as refundable tax credits or retention bonuses, to reduce high turnover and support small businesses.
Expand enrollment in and access to high-quality child care, early intervention, home visiting and preventative care services.
Increase child care subsidy entry eligibility from 130% to 185% of the federal poverty level.
Increase provider reimbursement rates, fund contracts to expand the supply of quality, affordable infant through toddler child care and incentivize shared service models at the local level to leverage opportunities to blend funding and reduce administrative costs for child care providers.
Reduce child care deserts, especially in rural communities, by mitigating barriers in accessing high-quality license-exempt child care (“family, friend and neighbor” or “kinship” care) for both families and providers.
Strengthen how families learn about and access programs and services.
Fund community-based organizations and parent-led initiatives to support families in learning about and choosing early childhood services, building on the existing MI Bridges navigator system (the website where Michigan residents can apply for state benefits and connect with community resources).
Actively support efforts led by partners and allies that positively impact infants and toddlers and their families.
Strengthen transitions between birth-to-5 and K-12 and among/within early childhood programs.
Extend postpartum Medicaid coverage, increase breastfeeding and expand access to preventative health care.
The vision behind the policy agenda is to make Michigan a top state to have and raise a baby.
Michigan and the other states in this national cohort supported by Pritzker are now competing for a three-year action grant of between $1 million and $3 million to support the implementation of their respective policy agendas. We expect to learn in the coming months if Michigan is awarded the grant.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into education and policy, join CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group for the debut of its new peer learning webinar series on February 18.
The Plan to Expand Overtime Pay Eligibility in MI Still in the Works
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to increase the salary threshold for overtime pay is still in the works.
In October, the governor directed the Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to submit an administrative rule change request to expand overtime pay eligibility to more Michigan workers.
Under the current federal standard that went into effect this year, salaried workers who earn less than $35,568 are now eligible for overtime pay. In Michigan, the governor seeks to raise the threshold even more to guarantee overtime pay to nearly 200,000 Michigan workers who aren’t eligible under the federal standard.
The governor’s office is exploring raising the threshold to somewhere in the $45,000-$60,000 range, that would give overtime eligibility to middle managers, administrative staff and skilled professionals like graphic artists or programmers.
Before any rule is formalized, LEO is expected to solicit stakeholder input, issue a provisional rule and seek formal public comment.
The governor’s office has shared, “The rulemaking process will allow stakeholders from all backgrounds to provide input as LEO moves forward to expand the right to overtime for Michiganders.”
While the nonprofit sector supports equitable wages and economic mobility for all, from an operational lens philanthropy and nonprofits may want to weigh in and share insights for consideration during the rule making process due to the potential impact it could have on organizations and the communities they serve.
To help provide perspectives from the nonprofit sector and inform the rule making process, CMF along with our partners at the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW), is asking for member feedback on the overtime threshold increase via an online survey, which is open now through February 21.
CMF, MNA and MAUW will then share the input from our members with the governor’s office for consideration as this change takes shape.
“Gathering this critical information will allow us to better inform the governor’s office on the potential impact that raising the overtime threshold will have on our members,” Regina Bell, director, government relations and public policy, CMF said. “We are happy to partner with MNA and MAUW to offer a full scope of the potential impact on the charitable sector, many of whom are helping to address the many demands on working families.”
According to the governor’s office LEO could have a draft proposal ready any time in early 2020. It typically takes anywhere from 8 months to one year to move from a provisional rule to implementation.
Provide feedback on the overtime threshold increase via the online survey.
Three CMF Members Provide Support to Nine Organizations for Immigrant and Refugee Needs
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) recently announced nine grants totaling $300,000 to organizations in the region that are working to address the needs of immigrants and refugees.
The grants were part of the Southeastern Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative—a joint effort between CFSEM, The Kresge Foundation and the Ford Foundation, in addition to Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees—designed to support the needs of Southeast Michigan’s growing immigrant and refugee populations.
CFSEM, Kresge and The Skillman Foundation compiled data on immigrant and refugee populations and organizations serving those populations in Southeast Michigan. Data suggests that 600,000 foreign-born people live in Michigan, 70% of whom live in Southeast Michigan.
Highlights of the grantees and grants include:
Freedom House: To support immigration legal services for asylum seekers, asylees and resettled refugees.
Michigan Advocacy Program: To support outreach to Michigan farmworkers and immigrant workers to protect their workplace rights.
Michigan College Access Network: To support the Michigan Coalition for Undocumented Student Success, which works to address the needs of college-bound immigrant and refugee students.
Michigan United’s Michigan Organizing Project: To support civic engagement efforts among immigrant communities in southwest Detroit and Dearborn.
The nine grants are the first to be awarded by the collaborative, which launched last September.
Read the grant announcement.
Learn more about the Southeastern Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative.