Whitmer signs historic $4.4 billion K-12 funding bill 

By: - July 7, 2021 1:40 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer | Whitmer office photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Wednesday more than $4 billion of federal funds to go to Michigan’s K-12 schools. 

At Ojibwa Elementary School in Macomb County, Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation, House Bill 4421, which appropriates $4.4 billion in federal COVID relief funding and works to close the per-pupil funding gap. 

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the type of investment in our schools that will put Michigan students and educators first as they head into the next school year,” said Whitmer. 

The bill made its way through the House in May and was passed by the Senate unanimously in mid-June. 

“Our actions today prove that Republicans and Democrats in Lansing can work together to enact budgets that are laser-focused on helping Michigan take full advantage of the unprecedented opportunity we have right now to make transformative investments in our schools that will have positive impacts for generations,” Whitmer said. 

The supplemental bill is fully funded through federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER), with $841 million coming from ESSER II funding passed by former President Donald Trump in December and $3.3 billion coming from ESSER III funding from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan in March. 

The funding, which will go toward school reopening plans and addressing academic and emotional needs of students, will be distributed to districts based on their Title I, Part A allocation.


“This is a significant budget supporting those who invest in the lives of our young people,” said Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles). “The bipartisan work done here is just the first step towards even more future transformational positive change within our education system.” 

Whitmer said the plan has “equity built into it.”

“Earlier this year, I appointed the Student Recovery Advisory Council to better understand our schools’ needs and identify evidence-based strategies to help every student thrive after the pandemic,” Whitmer said. “We know this recovery isn’t just about brushing up on fractions or remembering when to use the quadratic formula. Our students need a comprehensive recovery.” 

HB 4421 includes supplemental funding for the current year, Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, but she is currently reviewing legislation for the full school aid budget for next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 that the Legislature sent to her last week.     

Whitmer said Wednesday she may be signing the FY 2022 School Aid budget next week. 


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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.