Huizenga, MI Representatives, and Local Education Leaders Call for Change in Education Funding Formula included in President Biden's COVID Relief Package
Washington, February 23, 2021
Today, Congressmen Bill Huizenga (MI-02), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Peter Meijer (MI-03), and Fred Upton (MI-06) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader McCarthy asking for lawmakers to not only review but revise the formula in how federal funding is allocated per pupil for school districts. Approximately $128 billion in education funding is included in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
The Republican legislators clearly state in their letter that school districts in underserved communities should continue to be prioritized, but there is a need for more flexibility in the allocation formula so all schools can provide the best education possible for our children in an even safer learning environment.
A signed copy of the Republican letter is available here.
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader McCarthy:
It is well documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant negative impact on schools across the United States over the past year. Every student, teacher, and classroom has been forced to work through the effects of the pandemic, which has caused a devastating interruption to our children’s learning. Nevertheless, schools, teachers, and students have adapted and worked together to provide educational services amidst these uncertain and difficult times.
Under your leadership, Congress has responded and worked together in a bipartisan manner to provide aid to schools to safely operate and educate through the course of the pandemic. The current Covid relief package being negotiated in Congress would provide significant financial resources to continue to help meet the needs of all students.
However, we write today to highlight a potentially very serious shortcoming in the current proposal for the distribution of education relief funding. Recently, public education leaders in our state have brought attention to the fact that the proposed formula would result in massive disparities between districts across Michigan. This disparity would leave many districts without the necessary relief to provide a safer learning environment for students.
For example, estimates have shown that under the current formula, the new relief package would have some districts in Michigan receiving $20,000 per pupil while others would receive less than $500 per pupil. It is critically important that all underserved and low-income communities across the country have access to resources to address pandemic-related costs.
While districts with the highest number of disadvantaged students must be prioritized, Congress should also seek to develop a formula that offers increased balance in the federal resources provided for all school districts.
As Congress continues to shape the next Covid relief package, we urge you to adjust the distribution formula to ensure that all students and districts that receive federal resources from this relief package can provide the best education possible for our children. Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Following the release of the letter, Congressman Huizenga made the following statement.
“Public school leaders reached out to my office concerned about the formula currently being used to allocate federal funding for students across Michigan,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga. “After examining the wide disparity in per pupil funding under the status quo it’s clear to me that the current formula needs to be adjusted to include more flexibility in the way that taxpayer funds are distributed to school districts.”
West Michigan education leaders rallied in support of the Huizenga-led letter to House leadership
Educational organizations that also support changing the current formula for federal funding include: