Free school breakfast & lunch, field trip funding, and more - What students get under new Michigan budget

The Michigan Senate approved a budget Wednesday that provides $19.4 billion for schools, money that will be used for free food, expanding educational programs, and more.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer praised the budget after the senate's approval.

"The Make It in Michigan budget will build a bright future for our state," she said. "It lowers costs on health care, preschool, meals for kids, higher education, housing, and workforce training."

It now heads to the House, which has the votes to approve the budget.

Of the $19.4 billion allotted for schools, $160 million will go toward providing free school breakfasts and lunches to all public school students. 

The budget also expands educational programs for students, including at-risk and special education students, with at-risk and economically disadvantaged student programs getting a $204.5 million increase, for a total of $952 million. Special education programs get $140.3 million.

Schools will get $9,608 per student, a $458 per student, which equates to the biggest portion of the education budget – $611 million. 

"This is more money to hire more professionals to support kids' learning and success, more to make sure that teachers have what they need to be successful, and more money to invest in textbooks and resources that kids need to be better readers and earlier readers," Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said.

Another $8 million over two years to establish the Nature Awaits program, which will provide every fourth grader with a free field trip to a state park. 

Electric vehicles also got a spot in the budget, with $125 million going toward fund-matching for school districts that switch their buses to electric fleets.

Here's everything else going to schools under the budget:

  • $450 million deposit into a new rainy day fund for schools, setting aside resources for future needs and shoring up the long-term financial stability of the state’s public education system.
  • $370 million to support teachers, including continued support for the MI Future Educator Program (which provides a tuition-free path for college students to become certified teachers) and funds to retain and develop existing teachers through mentorship programs.
  • $328 million for mental health and school safety.
  • $254.6 million to expand free pre-K for up to 5,600 kids, working towards Pre-K for All by the end of the Governor’s second term, saving families $10,000 a year
  • $150 million for individualized tutoring or academic support through the MI Kids Back on Track program.
  • $94.4 million for literacy-related programs and activities in Detroit public schools.
  • $25.5 million to help students reach their full academic potential, including expansion of existing payments for literacy grants and literacy coaches.
  • $25 million supporting new math intervention programs.
  • $25 million for additional supports for vocational education and career and technical education equipment upgrades.
  • $13.3 million to provide a 50% increase in funding for English language learners.