Hi there, I’m Trina and I’m a Community Organizer with SAC. We have been working to uplift the opportunity our schools have with the Covid-related funds (technically called ESSR funds) that have already started to roll into our school districts. Ann Arbor Public Schools is projected to receive $21 million, Ypsi Community Schools $33 million!
These are funds our schools have needed for years and certainly now more than ever given the uncertainty that we still face because of Covid. The real challenge before us as a community working to advance equity in our schools is how to ensure this money is used to seed the future. And we need to make sure we have a plan to show meaningful progress because of these additional funds.
SAC and education justice organizations across the state of MI that are part of the Michigan Education Justice Coalition (MEJC) have developed a community voting platform (make sure you vote if you haven’t done so already) that allows anyone to look up how much money their district is projected to receive AND also offer insights and comments into what they think the funds should be allocated towards.
Some ideas that SAC has come up with include equipping schools with fabulous chill out spaces with couches, sensory equipment and even treadmills! We also think schools need to heavily invest in social workers and wraparound services so that issues preventing students from learning can be addressed.
SAC knows that budgets and especially complicated budget processes can be intimidating to folks. That’s why we have been focusing on educating those in Washtenaw, Jackson and western Wayne counties about how school budgets work and how we can all be part of a process to determine how the new funds will be used.
We are calling on our supporters to find out when your school board is holding their budget hearings or when they are planning to discuss how they will spend the Covid funds. We invite you to join with others in offering your thoughts during public comment at the budget hearings and regular school board meetings. It’s up to all of us to raise our voices!
Let us know what you need, maybe it’s talking points, maybe it’s connecting you with others in your district, maybe it’s supporting you and others in requesting a meeting with your district’s superintendent. We have a BIG opportunity here and we can’t let it pass us by. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s work together to bring equity to our schools.