Budget Target Agreements Reached, School Security a Focus:
The Governor and legislative leaders have reached agreement on spending amounts within various state departments for the upcoming fiscal year, including the School Aid Budget. Next year's per-pupil foundation allowance is expected to increase by $120 to $240, with additional unexpected revenue to be dedicated towards roads and the Budget Stabilization Fund.
The state also is expected to dedicate $58 million for school safety, including $25 million for upgrades to school security infrastructure, $30 million for school counselors and resource officers, and $3 million to expand the states' OK2Say tip line. The appropriation for school counselors intends to assist schools in contracting for mental health professionals, counselors and school resource officers over a three year phase-in period. The school security appropriation follows a package of school security policy proposals passed out of the House earlier this year.
We will learn exactly what is in next year's School Aid budget after the conference committee meets this this coming Wednesday. The Legislature is likely to wrap up budget work and adjourn for the summer sometime within the week of June 11.
Marshall Plan Update:
Governor Snyder's $100 million Marshall Plan, an array of funding initiatives designed to link students up with job opportunities through scholarships and career exploration programs, promote skilled trades, and address talent shortages noted in the state's failed bid for a new Amazon headquarters, passed the Senate last week. The plan is intended to complement existing CTE programs starting in 2019, with the intent that the program continue through 2022.
Ballot Proposals On The Agenda This Week:
The Legislature will also likely address a petition initiative to repeal the state prevailing wage on school construction projects. Approval of the prevailing wage repeal initiative does not need the Governor's signature (he is opposed to repeal), and with approval by a majority vote of the House and Senate the repeal would take effect in 30 days.
While there also has been much discussion surrounding the Legislature potentially voting to approve the petition initiative to legalize marijuana, the House and Senate would need to do so by Tuesday at 4:30, otherwise the question will appear on the November general election ballot. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has indicated that the votes exist to approve the marijuana legalization proposal in the Senate, but the votes are likely not yet there to do so in the House. The rationale for otherwise reluctant legislators to approve the ballot proposal instead of letting it go before the voters is the fact that a legislatively-approved initiated law can be amended by a simple majority vote of the Legislature in the future, while if the same initiated law is approved by voters, amendments would then require a 2/3 vote in each chamber.