State Rep. Greg Markkanen, a member of the House Education Committee, today underscored critical new investments for students in the U.P. and throughout the state.
Markkanen, who taught high school civics, history and geography for Baraga Area Schools prior to becoming a representative, noted the additional resources that will be available to schools in the region now that Senate Bill 845 has been signed.
After last year’s budget provided schools with equal per-pupil foundation allowance funding for the first time, the new plan maintains the equal funding and increases the amount of each grant from $8,700 per student to $9,150. The budget adds $246 million in reimbursements to help districts bolster special education services and an additional $745.5 million will go toward at-risk students to ensure that every child has a chance to thrive.
The budget also utilizes one-time federal funding to provide $52 million to schools to address learning loss after COVID-19 school closures. Schools will be required to submit plans for how learning loss will be addressed to access the funding.
“This plan the Legislature sent to the governor is one that invests in every student across the U.P.,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We needed to invest in our state’s next generation after so many students were set back by COVID-19 and executive orders that limited vital in-person classroom time. This is a way forward with that in mind, and it shows Michigan is serious about education.”
School safety is also a top priority of the budget plan. A total of $168 million in safety grants will help secure schools in the U.P. and throughout Michigan and another $25 million will support putting school resource officers in schools to protect students.
“This is the best and safest option for Yoopers,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “There is no other realistic way to move natural gas without a pipeline. Trucking would be nearly impossible and would have a far greater negative impact. This is a common-sense solution that makes sense for everyone.”
“This project will bring jobs and an incredible investment to the Calumet community,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Anytime we can pair an investment in local business with an investment in our armed forces, it’s a win for Michigan.”
“Many U.P. residents want freedom to install their own solar and have energy independence when possible,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “But they also need reliable and affordable energy when the sun is not out and the wind is not blowing. They also do not want tens of thousands of acres of their communities forced into being solar panels.”
“Local control is essential in all aspects of government, especially in projects that could change the entire landscape of a community,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “The people who know best about our community were elected by our friends and neighbors to make those decisions. It’s vital that our voices don’t get drowned out by Lansing Democrats who want to make the U.P. into a parking lot full of windmills.”