Legislators on both sides of the aisle are attempting to claw back nearly $1 billion of appropriations axed from the state’s 2020 budget by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Rep. Roger Hauck, R-Union Township, introduced a budget supplement to restore $16 million in grants for career and technical education equipment vetoed last week by Whitmer. House Bill 5079 was introduced Oct. 8 and is currently under consideration by the House Appropriations Committee.
According to Hauck, his bill is part of a bipartisan plan to reinstate 24 programs subjected to Whitmer’s line-item vetoes. HB 5079 would allow local schools to buy necessary equipment for existing vocational, skilled-trades and technical programs.
“It makes no sense to cut this funding,” Hauck said in a statement. “This is a program that has widespread bipartisan support. All of our kids and grandkids deserve a chance at success, but college isn’t the right path for everyone. Offering skilled trades programs in our schools opens the door for more young people to learn the skills they need to build successful careers.”
Details of the bill include eligibility to receive funding limited to intermediate school districts that haven’t levied a vocational education millage in 2018. The bill also provides grants for “professional development relating to computer science or coding, or for new and emerging CTE [career and technical education] programs to allow CEPD [career education planning district] administrators to provide programming in communities that will enhance economic development.”
Hauck’s bill continues: “The funding for equipment should be used to support and enhance community areas that have sustained job growth, and act as a commitment to build a more qualified and skilled workforce. In addition, each CEPD or intermediate district is encouraged to explore the option of leasing equipment from local private industry to encourage the use of the most advanced equipment.”