Lansing Update: Back in the Budget: Nonpublic School Funding Restored in Latest House Bill

Grassroots Advocacy Helps Restore Nonpublic School Funding in House Budget

School safety funding for nonpublic schools is back in the state budget under a revamped education spending plan that the House Appropriations Committee approved and sent to the House floor this week.

After more than 6,500 messages from grassroots advocates like you were sent to lawmakers, the House amended the budget unveiled last week that had not set aside any school safety money for nonpublic schools.

In the past two budget cycles, nonpublic schools have received $18 million from the state budget to pay for security upgrades as well as for mental health services. Nonpublic schools have received some school safety-related funding from the state budget each year for the past decade.

But the Governor and the Senate left that funding out of their respective budget proposals for next year, and the House’s initial proposal unveiled last week did the same.

Now the $18 million is back on the table after House members sent the school spending document to the full House for consideration. MCC is thankful to House lawmakers on the committee who agreed to include nonpublic schools in safety funding.

Eventually, the House, Senate, and Governor will convene a conference committee to make a final budget decision and having school safety funding for nonpublic schools in at least one of those budgets is helpful toward being included in the final version.

The House also reinstated in its latest budget $1 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for the costs of complying with health and safety mandates, matching the Senate proposal.

The Senate in its budget included $600,000 to allow nonpublic schools to attend robotics competitions, but the House did not include that.

There’s no question that the thousands of messages sent to lawmakers from grassroots advocates like you were a big reason why the House reinstated funding for nonpublic schools. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send a message!

In addition to advocating for school safety, health and safety reimbursements, and robotics funding to make it into the final document, MCC will continue to push for nonpublic school students to be included in school meal programs as well as teacher retention and recruitment programs.

Bills to Ensure School Readiness for Cardiac Emergencies Signed Into Law

The Governor last week signed into law legislation supported by MCC to ensure school staff and students are prepared to respond to and address instances of sudden cardiac arrest.

House Bills 5527 and 5528 would update school requirements for developing cardiac emergency response plans, which includes the placement of automated external defibrillators on school property as well as training for school staff. Nonpublic schools are also included in these requirements but will not have to adhere to them unless the state provides funding to do so.

In previous editions of Lansing Update, MCC referred to this legislation as seeking to improve responses to heart attacks. However, a Lansing Update subscriber and medical professional advocating for the bills wrote to clarify that the legislation is intended to address sudden cardiac arrest, which is different from a heart attack. As she explained in a message:

Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt, unexpected loss of heart function, usually resulting from an electrical problem. The heart provides life through plumbing and electricity; the electrical system tells the heart when to fill and contract. This circulates blood throughout the body and organs via the plumbing system, providing important oxygen and nutrients. A common misconception is that sudden cardiac arrest is the same as a heart attack. However, a heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is reduced or lost (essentially a plumbing issue) and tends to occur later in life. Sudden cardiac arrest is, again, an electrical issue, that can occur at any age and without any identifiable cause.

MCC appreciates the clarification about the legislation.

St. Joseph and the Dignity of Work and Workers

This past Wednesday, the Church celebrated the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, one of two liturgical feasts dedicated to the foster father of Jesus.

Cristo na Marcenaria de São José by Matteo Pagano

The feast is an opportunity to reflect on St. Joseph living out his vocation as a provider to the Holy Family, as well as on the dignity of work and of workers, which is a core tenet of Catholic social teaching.

The feast was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius XII and was specifically set for May 1, which was also known as International Workers Day or May Day. As Catholic News Agency wrote this week:

During this time, the Soviet Union proclaimed themselves as the defender of workers and utilized May Day as an opportunity to exalt communism and parade its military prowess. Pope Pius XII chose the date specifically to ensure that workers did not lose the Christian understanding of work.

Pope Pius XII, in an address to workers on the day he established the feast, said, “The humble craftsman of Nazareth not only embodies the dignity of the manual worker before God and the Holy Church, but he is also always the provident guardian of you and your families.”

St. Joseph the Worker, pray for workers!