Gov. Whitmer’s weighted funding formula will help Lincoln Park Public Schools better meet student needs

As superintendent of Lincoln Park Public Schools (LPPS), I applaud Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her bold education plan, which takes a huge first step toward giving students the support they need to achieve and succeed. It’s encouraging to see the governor using research to create a budget that addresses the unique needs of students in Lincoln Park Public Schools and across Michigan.

At LPPS, we serve a diverse population of students, all of whom have unique learning needs. We have created a culture in our district that supports the whole child by meeting their academic, physical, social and emotional needs.

I support Gov. Whitmer’s move to a weighted funding formula because it will provide additional support for special education, English Language Learners (ELL) and at-risk students, which are all populations we serve.

Special Education

In Lincoln Park, we provide a continuum of special education programs and services to meet the wide-ranging needs of students with disabilities in our district.

All LPPS students are general education students first, regardless of their needs or abilities. Once a student qualifies for special education, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed to help meet their needs, supports and individual learning goals.

The special education supports, programs and services we offer aim to create the least restrictive environments possible to help students succeed in the general education curriculum and achieve their IEP goals and objectives.

The additional special education funding proposed in Gov. Whitmer’s budget will help LPPS continue to meet the needs of our students with disabilities. It will allow us to expand our continuum of services, adequately staff the special education department and purchase materials needed to help meet the unique learning needs of our students.

English Language Learners

As a community with many non-English speaking families, nearly 22% of our students receive ELL services. Increased funding in the governor’s budget will allow us to hire additional staff, including teachers and translators, and provide additional wrap-around services that will help these students learn English and succeed in the classroom.

At-risk Students

Research shows students who come from high levels of poverty are more likely to experience traumatic events that can have long-lasting negative effects on the brain. With that in mind, we launched the Resilient Schools Project to teach students strategies to overcome adversity and trauma. These strategies have shown our students they don’t have to be defined by their traumatic experiences and have taught them to address potential problems proactively.

Too many of our students come from low-income households and will greatly benefit from additional resources proposed for at-risk students. This additional funding will allow LPPS to hire more appropriate staff to help better meet the emotional needs of our students.

Gov. Whitmer’s research-based, weighted funding formula is a significant step in the right direction for serving the needs of all Michigan students. The proposed budget will help Lincoln Park Public Schools and districts across the state meet the unique and diverse needs of all Michigan students.

Terry Dangerfield
Lincoln Park Public Schools

Terry Dangerfield