Michigan schools need $1 billion to reopen safely, group tells Whitmer

Jun 19, 2020 by

Reopening Michigan’s K-12 schools safely this fall will cost districts more than $1 billion in unplanned expenses at a time schools face state funding cuts in the billions, according to an estimate by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education.

Mark Greathead, president of the Lansing-based organization and superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools, sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday that noted the $1 billion figure was based on preliminary guidance from health departments on personal protective equipment and other efforts that will need to be taken to create a safe learning space for students inside school buildings.

Specifically, estimated statewide costs include:

•Masks, two per day for every student and staff: $35 million to $47 million per month

•Gloves, 100 pairs of disposable gloves available daily per school: $4 million to $8 million per month

•Thermometers: $6.3 million

•Cleaning and sanitation supplies: $25 million per month

•Online connectivity: $125 million to $200 million

•Continued food distribution if students are not in school all day, every day: $67.8 million

Without new funding allocated to cover the $1 billion in additional costs, Greathead said it would effectively cut or reallocate an additional $665 per-pupil or more from students’ education just for schools to be able to reopen their doors safely.

Source: Michigan schools need $1 billion to reopen safely, group tells Whitmer

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