Big money for Michigan schools, woman killed in train-car crash in Detroit, a wet weekend on the way

A bipartisan vote and a ton of extra money. That's the state of Michigan's politics, at least in talks about its budget, which received a 105-3 approving vote and about a $1.2 billion increase in education spending.

That big number translates to $8,700 per student funding from the state or about 7% more for most districts and charter schools. The funding approval meets a milestone decades in the making by closing the student funding gap that has persisted for 27 years.

And that doesn't include the $1,093 more per pupil which schools will also receive in federal funding as part of a massive aid package approved earlier this year by President Joe Biden. Districts that have more money will be getting an additional $171 per pupil, which is about a 2% increase. 

The education funding was part of a $65 billion budget agreed upon by both the Republican-controlled House and the governor.

The Michigan Senate has yet to agree to the budget and has a week to vote on it before the July 1 deadline. 

"This is the budget Michigan families have been asking us to deliver. ... We're finally eliminating the inequality in our funding system that treated students from different districts as though they had different values," said Rep. Mary Whiteford, a Republican from Allegan County's Casco Township. 

The next fiscal year does not start until Oct. 1. But a 2019 law, enacted after a budget impasse, requires lawmakers to send Whitmer a plan by July 1. It could be delayed like it was in 2020 if a deal is not struck.

The fiscal year for school districts begins July 1, however, and superintendents are pressing legislators for clarity as they finalize spending following a tumultuous academic year and lost learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, a Midland Republican, told reporters he was "anxious" to see the House's general and K-12 budget bills and said he has always been supportive of payments to help districts that stand to get less federal pandemic funding because they have fewer low-income students.

"We want to work with the House and the governor's office on getting this done" by July 1, Stamas said in a later statement, adding that if a deal is not reached next week, schools got substantial dollars in previous federal relief laws.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Woman killed in train-car crash 

Detroit police are investigating a fatal crash involving a car and a train on the city's east side Friday morning. The crash happened near St. Jean and Kercheval, near the Jefferson plant. 

A 49-year-old woman was reportedly killed after being hit by a train and dragged a thousand feet. She was driving from home, police say. The woman was traveling westbound on Kercheval in a gold Nissan when she attempted to make it around a train, which was traveling southbound.

Video from the scene around 5 a.m. showed the crossing alarm going off and several police cars nearby with their lights on. The crash happened around 3 a.m. According to Sigalert, which tracks traffic in the metro area, both west Kercheval Street and St. Jean Avenue were closed by police at the railroad crossing due to an accident investigation. 

Police have yet to issue an official statement.

Road rage accident leads to shooting and police in Eastpointe

A road rage incident between a gray Dodge Charger and a white pickup truck led to gunfire and a police chase Thursday evening. It started at Eight Mile and Hayes in Detroit where the accident occurred.

Eastpointe police say someone in the Charger opened fire at the pickup. Police say the shooting led to a chase where the gunman fired more shots from the car at the pickup. 

That's when law enforcement first observed the incident and gave chase. It took them through residential streets. Normandy and Semrau.

Officers eventually stopped both cars and brought the chase to an end on Stephens and Schroeder, arresting both drivers without incident. No one was hurt. 

Mount Clemens firefighter donates 'pandemic hair'

Evidence of the pandemic is everywhere, including in the roots of untrimmed hair that has been growing since the onset of the COVID-19 arrival last year. A Mount Clemens firefighter counted himself among those that had taken it to the limit. 

And now, it's all gone. That's because Josh Ringstad and a few of his friends got their heads shaved in a cut-a-thon Thursday to donate to Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan.

"Last year when barbershops closed down I went three or four months without getting a haircut when I was used to getting a hair cut every month," he said. "I normally keep it pretty short, so after the shops opened back up, I was sitting with my wife one night and we started talking that it would be really cool to grow my hair out for wigs for kids."

The requirement for donating is a minimum of seven inches in length. The donated hair goes toward kids with cancer, burn victims, and those with alopecia. 

Heavy rain on the way this weekend

As a beautiful Thursday comes to an end, the weather pattern is about to change dramatically across Metro Detroit with up to three inches of rain possible between Friday and Monday.

The rain started to bubble up in the northern part of the metro Detroit area and central Michigan Thursday around 3 p.m. Those storms will fizzle out but the next several days are going to bring multiple waves of rain and it's going to be relentless.

As for where it will be heaviest? That will be in mid-Michigan, in the Saginaw area specifically, and near Flint where they could see 2 to 3 inches of possible from Friday until Sunday at 5 p.m.

It starts with Thursday night into Friday morning's spotty showers and possible heavy downpours. Friday will be cloudy and breezy with thundershowers. And for Saturday, Sunday and Monday - just copy and paste that because nothing is changing. It's going to be warm, muggy, and wet for basically the next five days. So have an umbrella, poncho, or canoe handy.

What else we're watching

  1. In addition to the budget news, the Michigan House also approved $10 million to offset losses for the rehab and at-home care industry after auto insurance reform lowered the requirement drivers need to pay. 
  2. Weekend construction and warranty work will close lanes on the Southfield Freeway and service drives at Michigan Avenue. 
  3. The Innocence Project overseen by Cooley Law School in Lansing will introduce a new exoneree after 16 years of wrongful imprisonment today. 
  4. The 47th annual Jobbie Nooner will kick off today. The massive boat party celebrates debauchery and no work every summer
  5. The Michigan DNR is working to restore 200 acres of "globally rare" wetland on Belle Isle. It's one of the largest wet-mesic Flatwoods in existence.

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Are you ready for the rain? Because it's about to start falling this morning and likely won't let up for the day - or the weekend. Thunderstorms are also possible and could strike around early afternoon.

Miami-area condo collapse: At least 99 unaccounted for as search for survivors continues

A frantic search continued Friday for dozens of people still unaccounted for after a beachfront condo building partially collapsed outside of Miami, Florida, killing at least two people and trapping others in the tower.

President Joe Biden signed an emergency declaration for the state of Florida, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts "to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Miami-Dade County," the White House said in a statement early Friday.

A wing of the 12-story Champlain Towers came down around 1:30 a.m. Thursday in the town of Surfside, located just north of Miami Beach. By early Friday morning, authorities said 99 people were still unaccounted for, raising fears that the death toll could climb sharply. Eleven injuries were reported, with four people treated at hospitals.