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May 26, 2021

Panel Discussion on the Use of Federal COVID-19 Funding for Upper Peninsula Schools

With Congress’s recent approval of a third stimulus package, the federal government’s injection of over $6 billion into Michigan’s public schools since last year’s CAREs Act is changing the fiscal landscape for many districts. The unprecedented federal aid, coupled with a healthy state education budget, paints a much brighter fiscal picture for many district budgets compared to last year at this time. That is a good thing because right now it is budget time.

And while the pandemic may not have created the fiscal havoc on school budgets that was originally thought, school board members and administrators are still faced with some weighty budget decisions coming out of the pandemic. First, elected and appointed school officials across Michigan are planning and developing budgets to offer full, in-person schooling in the fall in the safest and healthiest environment possible. In the more immediate future, officials are planning how to use the limited amount of time this summer, before the start of the next school year, to help students regain some of the lost learning experienced during the pandemic. Also,
beyond the academic services, schools are making student social, emotional, and mental health much higher priority in their fiscal planning post-COVID.

All of this will require financial resources. Both the federal government and the state government have stepped up with additional dollars to help districts, but the amounts vary considerably by program and across districts. While some districts will be resourced to meet all of their students’ needs, others may not find the additional money sufficient. Even with additional dollars available, many smaller and remote districts may face challenges securing the resources (e.g., additional and specialized staffing) to best help school children.

Join local school officials at 4 p.m. on May 26, 2021, from across the Upper Peninsula to hear about how they have managed through the last academic year amidst the pandemic and what course they are setting to meet students’ learning and developmental needs in and outside of the classroom. During the interactive virtual panel discussion you will hear from three UP school leaders from various sized districts and locations share their insights about:
● Students’ academic needs before, during and after the pandemic.
● How their schools are confronting the student mental health crises. What is working and what is not.
● School finances and what the federal stimulus means to their district.
● What will public school look like next year and how they plan to get there.

The panel discussion will be preceded by a short presentation on federal education funding coming to Upper Peninsula school districts by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan’s Craig Thiel. Following the presentation, Craig will moderate the panel and coordinate audience comments and questions.

The panel will include:
● William Saunders, Superintendent, Marquette Area Public Schools
● Angie McArthur, Superintendent, Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD

The program is co-hosted by Rural Insights and Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

May 26, 2021

Panel Discussion on the Use of Federal COVID-19 Funding for Upper Peninsula Schools

With Congress’s recent approval of a third stimulus package, the federal government’s injection of over $6 billion into Michigan’s public schools since last year’s CAREs Act is changing the fiscal landscape for many districts. The unprecedented federal aid, coupled with a healthy state education budget, paints a much brighter fiscal picture for many district budgets compared to last year at this time. That is a good thing because right now it is budget time.

And while the pandemic may not have created the fiscal havoc on school budgets that was originally thought, school board members and administrators are still faced with some weighty budget decisions coming out of the pandemic. First, elected and appointed school officials across Michigan are planning and developing budgets to offer full, in-person schooling in the fall in the safest and healthiest environment possible. In the more immediate future, officials are planning how to use the limited amount of time this summer, before the start of the next school year, to help students regain some of the lost learning experienced during the pandemic. Also,
beyond the academic services, schools are making student social, emotional, and mental health much higher priority in their fiscal planning post-COVID.

All of this will require financial resources. Both the federal government and the state government have stepped up with additional dollars to help districts, but the amounts vary considerably by program and across districts. While some districts will be resourced to meet all of their students’ needs, others may not find the additional money sufficient. Even with additional dollars available, many smaller and remote districts may face challenges securing the resources (e.g., additional and specialized staffing) to best help school children.

Join local school officials at 4 p.m. on May 26, 2021, from across the Upper Peninsula to hear about how they have managed through the last academic year amidst the pandemic and what course they are setting to meet students’ learning and developmental needs in and outside of the classroom. During the interactive virtual panel discussion you will hear from three UP school leaders from various sized districts and locations share their insights about:
● Students’ academic needs before, during and after the pandemic.
● How their schools are confronting the student mental health crises. What is working and what is not.
● School finances and what the federal stimulus means to their district.
● What will public school look like next year and how they plan to get there.

The panel discussion will be preceded by a short presentation on federal education funding coming to Upper Peninsula school districts by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan’s Craig Thiel. Following the presentation, Craig will moderate the panel and coordinate audience comments and questions.

The panel will include:
● William Saunders, Superintendent, Marquette Area Public Schools
● Angie McArthur, Superintendent, Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD

The program is co-hosted by Rural Insights and Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


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