Financial Support Allocated to Help School Districts Weather Economic Impact of COVID-19

On June 30, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools Return to Learn School Roadmap, a guide that helps districts create plans for in-person learning in the fall. The Roadmap outlines the safety protocols for schools to implement in each phase of Michigan’s Safe Start Plan. The Governor also signed Executive Order 2020-142, which provides structure to support schools in the state as they plan for a return in the fall.

The Order requires school districts to adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, which will map how they will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. The safety protocols include guidance on the use of PPE, good hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, athletics, and more. The plan also recognizes the impact COVID-19 has had on students’ and educators’ mental health and offers guidance on how schools can address this issue.

In recognition that these protocols will be costly for school districts, the Governor has allocated $256 million to support the districts in implementing their local plans. This plan of action provides much-needed financial support for Michigan’s school districts, who will likely experience significant budget cuts for the upcoming school year (and beyond) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown of the state’s economy. The two largest sources of school funding, sales and income tax, have fallen sharply in recent months, leaving a budget hole that some estimates predict could reach over $2 billion in the next two years, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

O’Reilly Rancilio municipal attorneys serve as legal counsel to local school districts in southeast Michigan. Our attorneys are available to provide guidance for school districts and parents. For information, please visit our website or call 586-726-1000.