By state Rep. Timmy Beson
My three kids and their fellow Bay County students are heading back to school, which makes me think about why I first entered public service a few years back. I ran for and served on my local school board to make sure my own children got a great education at Bangor Township Schools.
Now, as a state representative, I’m still fighting for the young people in our community. This summer, I voted to provide record school resources in our bipartisan state budget.
In our education budget, every school will get more funding per pupil. The foundation allowance will be $9,150 per student — up $450 from last year, when schools first received equal foundation funding.
Of course, many kids need extra assistance, and our bipartisan plan adds more resources to help every student learn. We increased special education funding by more than $300 million, for a total of about $1.89 billion. Our budget will also provide more to assist at-risk students, for a total of $747.5 million.
School shutdowns during COVID caused problems for Michigan students. Some kept zooming ahead in their learning, but others slowed down. For many kids, online classes just didn’t work. That’s why our bipartisan budget contains $52 million to help students make a comeback from learning loss.
We also continue to make Michigan schools safer. A $168 million school safety program will give schools grants to help pay for safety training, equipment, building upgrades, coordination with police, and other security measures. Another $25 million will help pay school resource officers. Our budget also supports mental health services for students.
The record funding is really going to help kids learn at our local schools. The increased foundation allowance, special education support, at-risk funding, safety grants, and mental health resources will boost Bay County school districts. Based on state estimates, Essexville-Hampton Public Schools will receive a funding increase of $1,168,280. An additional $6,057,267 will go to Bay City Public Schools, and Bangor Township Schools will gain $2,186,045. Pinconning Area Schools, which will also get a small bump in rural-district funding, will see a $946,740 increase.
Additionally, because many schools are facing a teacher shortage, our budget makes big investments in creative recruitment and education programs. These resources will help hire qualified, excellent teachers in Michigan.
With a good education from good teachers, students will have a springboard to success. The new, bipartisan school aid budget will help provide that education to Bay County kids — mine and yours.
State Rep. Timmy Beson, R-Bangor Township, represents the 96th House District, which includes the cities of Bay City and Essexville, and the townships of Bangor, Frankenlust, Hampton, Kawkawlin, Merritt, Monitor, and Portsmouth. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee.