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New K-12 Budget Includes Early Literacy Funding

State Capitol - file photo
Melissa Benmark

The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year. The K-through-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. 

Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-through-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder (R) says he’s pleased money for an early literacy project is part of the budget that’s now on its way to his des

“It’s really, how do we intervene?” he says. “How do we work with parents, the kids themselves, having teachers involved to get them additional assistance so they can be successful?"

The governor commissioned a group to come up with recommendations to improve child literacy. A national report says nearly 70 percent of Michigan’s fourth-graders are not proficient at reading.

Teresa Neal is the superintendent of the Grand Rapids schools. She says the program is badly needed.

“Seventy five percent of our children that come to kindergarten are either a year or two years behind,” she says. “And I’m not whining about it. That’s a reality.”

Among other things, the program would offer more help for parents to learn to read so they can help their children.

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