Education and infrastructure are key components of the $56.8 billion Michigan budget passed by the state legislature and Newschannel 3 looked at how much money will be spent in Kalamazoo County.
School districts in Kalamazoo County will receive about $8.1 million more dollars, with per pupil foundation grant dollars increased by up to $240 for every student.
“We are investing the most we've ever invested in K-12 education, at $14.8 billion going to K-12 education,” said State Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage.
Based on enrollment numbers for Fiscal Year 2018, O’Brien’s office provided the following estimates for funding increases to Kalamazoo County school districts in the 2018-19 budget:
- Kalamazoo Public Schools: $2,793,764
- Climax-Scotts Community Schools: $117,317
- Comstock Public Schools: $450,691
- Galesburg-Augusta Community: $250,370
- Gull Lake Community Schools: $869,522
- Parchment School District: $388,416
- Portage Public Schools: $2,099,225
- Schoolcraft Community School: $255,528
- Vicksburg Community Schools: $634,553
- Lakeside Charter School: $29,926
- Oakland Academy: $38,626
- Paramount Charter Academy: $113,170
- Youth Advancement Academy: $6,607
- Forest Academy: $45,960
- Evergreen Academy: $18,485
- Augusta Academy: $3,175
- Kalamazoo Covenant Academy: $33,682
The state also set aside about $55 million for school safety across the state.
O’Brien said, “There will be grants for any security upgrades that schools would like to do, so there will be grant opportunities to be able to fund these important things and also school resource officers.”
The money will also help schools hire mental health counselors, O’Brien said, “Most importantly we need to meet the needs of children and that’s where the mental health services available in the school are probably the most important, it can help deal with school violence but also neighborhood violence if we can help that child.”
The Kalamazoo County Road Commission is expected to receive $23.1 million in state dollars. The budget also sends additional transportation dollars to local governments.
- Augusta village: $126,046
- Climax village: $100,109
- Galesburg city: $216,874
- Kalamazoo city: $8,996,483
- Parchment city: $212,810
- Portage city: $6,017,451
- Richland village: $79,792
- Schoolcraft village: $216,871
- Vicksburg village: $386,717
Based on those numbers, provided by O’Brien’s office, cities and villages in Kalamazoo County will receive an estimated totally of $39,512,898 for transportation.
Local lawmakers also secure an additional $4.6 million to fund road projects in Kalamazoo County through supplemental community infrastructure investments.
- Idaho Ave - $850,000
- Zylman Ave - $1,800,000
- Lovers Lane - $600,000
- Portage St. - $850,000
- Wellhouse Dr. - $55,000
- Texas Dr. - $460,000
O’Brien also helped secure $1.5 million for Western Michigan University’s Unified Clinics, where thousands receive specialty care each year, and $100,000 for Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. Cradle Kalamazoo at the YWCA will also receive $100,000 to assist in its efforts to curb infant mortality rates.
The following is an estimate of the increased foundation allowance schools will receive. This estimate is using FY18 pupil counts. This does not include base; at-risk; or other categorical funding.
The new state budget also includes funding for to reimburse Western Michigan University for a program provides students who went through foster care with a free education.
State Representative Brandt Iden, R-Portage, helped secure $500,000 for WMU's Seita Scholars.
“This is taking care of meals this is allowing them to stay on campus all year round and this is getting them a fantastic four-year degree,” Iden said.
From schools to streets, local lawmakers helped set aside about $8 million in one-time funding for special projects in Kalamazoo County, that includes the $4.6 million in road work.
“We prioritize the budget from what we hear from our constituents and again they talk about, in this community, we hear education and road funding being the most important.” Iden said.
Another important part of the budget is that is reduces the state’s debt with a plan to make Michigan debt free by 2038. O’Brien said, “This budget is a real victory, it invests money, it’s paying down debt and any revenues that we don’t expect to see next year we have spent on one-time projects so we don’t anticipate having to cut in the future.”