Department of Education

Leadership for Michigan’s public education system is vested by the Michigan state constitution in the elected members of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 recommends total ongoing funding of $313.2 million, of which $79.3 million is general fund.

Highlights of Governor’s Budget Recommendation

Strengthening Schools and Teachers

The Department of Education provides policy guidance, grant administration, oversight, and other supports for over 900 school districts that serve nearly 1.5 million pupils. Additionally, the department oversees professional development, training, and certification requirements for the state’s educators.

• The Executive Budget includes $778,100 general fund, in tandem with $4 million general fund in the Department of Treasury, for funding of financial independence teams. These interagency teams will be tasked with implementing early warning systems to identify school districts that are in need of financial attention and providing the expertise and resources needed to address problems before a crisis occurs.

• The academic success of children in Michigan is dependent upon the quality of educators and leadership in the school. The governor’s budget recommends $3.6 million general fund to implement educator evaluations based in part on classroom observations and student growth metrics to identify targeted professional development opportunities.

Improving Early Learning, Literacy, and Child Care

Research indicates that the path to academic success starts before a child enters kindergarten. Recognizing this, the Executive Budget includes funding for the Office of Great Start of $178 million ($38.2 million general fund). The governor’s budget recommends $29.3 million in increased federal funds to enhance the quality of child care in Michigan by providing stability and consistency for low-income families receiving assistance through the Child Development and Care Program.

• Investments include $16 million to provide continuous, 12-month eligibility for children and families regardless of changes in life circumstances throughout the year. The budget also includes $1.5 million to raise the exit income threshold by which a family becomes ineligible for care from 120 percent of the federal poverty level to 250 percent. This ensures that families are not forced to transition in and out of child care programs as incomes fluctuate.

• The recommended budget includes $6.1 million to increase the reimbursement rates for higher-quality licensed and registered programs, bringing state rates more in line with the market rate for child care in Michigan. Increasing the reimbursement rates will incentivize providers to serve low-income children.

• Along with providing stability for families, the governor supports efforts to ensure that child care facilities offer high-quality, safe learning environments for children. To do this, the budget recommends $5.7 million federal funds to hire additional licensing consultants in the Department of Human Services to monitor and license child care facilities.

• Recognizing a recent drop in child care caseloads, the governor’s budget recommends a reduction of $2.4 million general fund in the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant match requirement. To support the work of public libraries statewide and to expand early learning and preschool reading programs, the governor’s budget recommends investing an additional $1 million general fund to increase state aid to public libraries to a total of nearly $10 million general fund. Combined with funding for other library programs, the budget recommends $26.9 million for library services ($21.3 million general fund).