LANSING, Mich. (WOOD/WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an education budget with the state’s highest ever per-pupil funding.

Per-pupil funding was increased to $9,150 budget worked out by Whitmer, a Democrat, and the Republican-led Legislature.

The spending plan also devotes $214 per pupil to mental health and school safety, puts more dollars to programs for special education and at-risk students, expands free preschool through the Great Start Readiness Program, sinks millions into infrastructure and funds scholarships for future teachers.

“Every kid in every district deserves to feel safe and supported in school, and I am proud today to sign a historic, bipartisan education budget that will make game-changing investments to improve every student’s in-class experience. The budget makes the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history to help schools buy new textbooks, offer more personalized instruction, and bolster AP and honors classes. It also bolsters resources for special education, at-risk funding, and career and technical education while expanding slots in free after-school and preschool programs. Finally, to improve the on-campus experience, the budget invests a quarter of a billion dollars in school infrastructure to build or renovate everything from classrooms, computer labs, and libraries, and significantly expands teacher recruitment programs so we attract and train thousands of educators every year. This budget is proof of what is possible when we put our students first and stay focused on getting things done.” 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Among the programs getting funding include grants for district mental health grants; TRAILS, which trains mental health professionals in schools; before- and after-school programs and MI Kids Back on Track tutoring.

Other dollars are for more school resource officers, creating an a multiagency intervention system for at-risk kids and setting up a school safety commission.

The MI Future Educator Fellowships will pay up to $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future educators every year and give $9,600 stipends to student-teachers each semester. It will also help districts pay for support staff to become teachers. Other programs will work to get military veterans into teaching.