Lansing Update: Grassroots Urge Lawmakers to Restore $18M Cut To Nonpublic School Safety, Mental Health

Tell Lawmakers to Restore Millions in School Safety, Mental Health Funds to Nonpublic Schools

Nonpublic schools across Michigan will lose $18 million in school safety and mental health funding if the current state budget proposal is approved, prompting Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and the Michigan Association of Nonpublic Schools (MANS) to issue an Action Alert this week to grassroots advocates.

State lawmakers are expected to take up next year’s school aid budget in the coming weeks, and the current proposed budget from the Governor ends the $18 million provided to nonpublic schools in each of the past two years to fund school safety improvements and mental health services.

Since the 2015 state budget year, both public and nonpublic schools in Michigan have had access to state funds to invest in school safety-related improvements. In the past two budget years, all Michigan schools have been provided safety and mental health funding to improve the overall health and safety of school settings.

Nonpublic schools have used this funding to upgrade their security systems, such as cameras and door access systems, which are upgrades that schools of all kinds have been making to protect students from harm. The funds have also assisted schools in paying for social worker and school counselor-related positions to ensure students’ mental health needs are met.

MCC and MANS believe the state budget should continue to prioritize the safety and mental health wellness of all Michigan students, regardless of where they attend school. To send a message to your lawmaker to urge them to support including nonpublic schools in this funding, please click or tap here. So, far grassroots advocates have sent lawmakers more than 2,000 messages. Thank you for your advocacy to support nonpublic schools!

The proposed cut to school safety funding is among several proposed cuts in the Governor’s budget that impact nonpublic schools. MCC and MANS will continue to bring these issues to lawmakers’ attention as they work on next year’s budget. Click or tap here for a full list of how nonpublic schools could be impacted by the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025.

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Bill Improving Access to Driver’s License Receives Unanimous, Bipartisan Senate Support

MCC-backed legislation to aid access to driver’s licenses passed the Senate unanimously this week.

Senate Bill 706, sponsored by Sen. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe), would end the $125 reinstatement fee a driver must pay if the driver’s license was revoked for not paying driver responsibility fees.

Driver responsibility fees were repealed by the Legislature due to their punitive nature on the poor and phased out in 2019. As part of the repeal, the law also ended the obligation to pay back any outstanding fees.

This legislation keeps with the original goal of ending the excessive, punitive nature associated with driver responsibility fees by ending the required reinstatement fee for a license lost to non-payment of the now-defunct driver responsibility fees.

MCC supports this legislation because it eases access to driver’s licenses, which are essential for Michigan individuals to get themselves and their families to work, church, school, the grocery store, and other activities needed to live a dignified life. The reinstatement fee the legislation repeals is also connected to the unjust driver’s license fees that had a disproportionate impact on the poor.

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