Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Berman announces plan investing in students and teachers while keeping them safe
RELEASE|June 23, 2020
Contact: Ryan Berman

$1.3 billion will go to robust distance learning, safety measures

State Rep. Ryan Berman, of Commerce Township, today helped unveil a plan that crafts educational and safety standards for the coming school year as COVID-19 continues to impact the state.

Berman joined House and Senate colleagues this morning at the Capitol to announce the proposals. The legislative package requires school districts and health departments to work together to develop health and safety standards that are best for a particular area – as different regions of the state have experienced varying outbreak levels.

The plans also make an investment in Michigan’s students and teachers in the face of projected budget shortfalls due to COVID-19.

“Despite this challenge, we must work to put our future generations in the best possible position to succeed,” Berman said. “Those efforts can’t stop. Not for a second. Not for a fiscal year. School resources must be held harmless, and that is what this plan works to do.

“We are going to give schools every possible tool to educate our children in this new environment.”

A bill Berman has sponsored within the proposals will provide an $800 per-student payment to K-12 schools to implement a robust distance learning plan and health and safety measures to return students safely to the classroom. In addition, $500 will be paid to each teacher for hazard and overtime pay while helping cover costs incurred due to transitioning to distance learning teaching plans. Another $80 million will go to intermediate school districts to coordinate and implement distance learning plans and safety protocols.

The Return to Learn plan also:

  • Redefines the word “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present,” allowing schools to be innovative and give students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom.
  • Limits the use of snow days to encourage the use of remote instruction when in-person instruction is unsafe or unsuitable.
  • Utilizes benchmark assessments to provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help, ensuring kids do not fall behind in the wake of the public health crisis.
  • Requires school districts to work with local health departments to establish safety requirements for extracurricular activities and sports in addition to regular school safety measures.

The proposals will be referred to the House Education Committee for consideration later this week.

PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Ryan Berman (at podium), of Commerce Township, speaks at the Capitol on Tuesday, June 23 while announcing a statewide school restart plan for the fall. The legislative package will task school districts and local health departments with creating smart approaches that allow students to learn safely, while also providing needed funding to help implement safety measures and learning plans.

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