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New bill could give Alpena-area schools a boost

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Alpena Public Schools Associate Superintendent for Business and Operations Mary Lyon works at her desk Friday at Central Office.

ALPENA — Northeast Michigan school districts could receive an additional $21.1 million in funding after legislators approved a historic boost in funding for school districts statewide.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed a bill that would direct $150 million in federal coronavirus rescue funds to Michigan school districts, with about $17.6 million headed to Northeast Michigan schools, according to state data.

Those federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds are designed to help districts in their efforts to get students back on track.

Schools can spend those ESSER funds on needs related to the coronavirus pandemic such as: reopening schools safely, sustaining their safe operation, and addressing students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs resulting from the pandemic.

The legislature last week also passed a bill that increased the foundation allowance to schools by $589 and could mean about $3.6 million in additional per student funds headed to Northeast Michigan schools, based on the most recent enrollment figures.

That bill was presented to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, but, as of Friday, had yet to be signed by her.

Alpena Public Schools could receive a little over $2 million in additional funds per student this year, which could bring its total per pupil funding to an estimated $30.6 million in student funding.

Superintendent Dave Rabbideau said the district would also receive about $1.2 million in ESSER II funds and $6.2 million in ESSER III funding. He said the federal emergency relief funding are one-time funds and have to be spent by 2024.

The APS Board of Education in June adopted a $42.3 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, 2.7% less than last year’s budget. The additional funding was not factored into the budget adopted by the APS Board of Education because it was approved by legislators after the fiscal year began on July 1.

Rabbideau said district officials budgeted conservatively because they were waiting to see how much money they would receive from the state. He said the additional funding will be a big help for the district.

“Certainly we want to put as much money as we can into the classrooms for the students,” he said. “We have some general areas — from mental health supports to whatever else we can do to improve instruction in the district — and as we kind of go through the money, see what else we can spend it and what our needs are.”

Other Northeast Michigan school districts will receive additional funds, including:

∫ an estimated $3 million for Alcona Community Schools, including $400,000 in additional per pupil funding, $500,000 in ESSER II funding, and $2.1 million in ESSER III funding.

∫ an estimated $2.2 million for Onaway Area Schools, including $310,000 in additional per pupil funding, $380,000 in ESSER II funding, and $1.5 million in ESSER III funding.

∫ an estimated $1.8 million for Atlanta Community Schools, including $140,000 in additional per pupil funding, $320,000 in ESSER II funding, and $1.6 million in ESSER III funding.

∫ an estimated $1.6 million for Rogers City Area Schools, including $280,000 in additional per pupil funding, $280,000 in ESSER II funding, and $1 million in ESSER III funding.

∫ an estimated $1.6 million for Hillman Community Schools, including $260,000 in additional per pupil funding, $270,000 in ESSER II funding, and $1 million in ESSER III funding.

∫ an estimated $742,761 for Posen Consolidated School District, including $120,000 in additional per pupil funding, $120,000 in ESSER II funding, and $500,000 in ESSER III funding.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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