Republicans Supported Whitmer Vetoes Fellowship Program | Michigan News

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed Republican-backed bills that would have created scholarship accounts for K-12 students to pay for education expenses, including private schools and private lessons; and granted tax credits to individuals and businesses who donate to the program.

The expected veto came the same week that supporters of the legislation preemptively launched a voting campaign that would see the GOP-led Legislature pass identical bills to the initiative. citizens without his signature.

The Democratic governor has said the bills will cut state revenues by up to $ 500 million in 2022 alone.

“Put simply, our schools cannot provide the high quality education our children deserve if we turn private schools into tax shelters for the rich,” she wrote to lawmakers, adding that she was working to reverse the divestment in public education.

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School Choice supporters such as the Great Lakes Education Project have slammed Whitmer saying the funds would have helped more than one million children who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gretchen Whitmer didn’t just veto the legislation – she cut guardians, mental health treatments, after-school programs, textbooks, high-speed Internet access and reading materials from Michigan children,” said Executive Director Beth DeShone.

Under the plan, students would have been eligible for scholarships if their family income did not exceed double the threshold to receive a free or reduced price lunch – $ 98,050 for a family of four currently – or if they had a disability or were in foster care. .

Students attending private schools could have secured up to 90% of Michigan’s minimum base per student funding, which currently equates to $ 7,830. Those from households with incomes between 100% and 200% of the free and reduced meal program threshold would have received less on a sliding scale.

Children enrolled in public schools could have obtained a maximum of $ 500, or $ 1,100 if they were disabled.

The funds could have covered expenses related to the school, including tuition, fees and tutoring.

Democratic lawmakers and teachers’ unions liken the proposal to vouchers and declare it unconstitutional, citing Michigan’s ban on providing state aid to non-state schools. Supporters of the bills, however, say it is legal because students would not receive funds from the state but rather money from individuals and businesses.

Whitmer did not mention or explore legality in his veto letter.

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