News Release: Governor’s Veto of Health and Safety Line-Item Neither Just Nor Fair

A young girl wearing a school uniform and protective mask sits in class while her teacher writes “Back to school” on the chalkboard.

September 30, 2020

(Lansing, Mich.) — Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed from the state’s 2020–2021 fiscal year budget a $100 placeholder that would fund an appropriation to reimburse nonpublic schools for health and safety regulations mandated by the State of Michigan. Michigan Catholic Conference responded with the comments below, stating that while the veto was expected, “just and fair, it certainly was not.”

“The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in support of ensuring every student in the state is educated in a healthy and safe environment, regardless of where they attend school. As the policy awaits oral arguments at the state Supreme Court, the legislature had inserted a budget placeholder should the high court agree with the lower court’s ruling. While Governor Whitmer continues to insist on a two-tiered education system in the state, where some students are more important than others, her veto of the placeholder was to be expected. Just and fair, it certainly was not.”

Michigan Catholic Conference for the last three legislative sessions has supported an appropriation from the state to reimburse nonpublic schools for complying with regulations that mandate certain health and safety protocols. While public schools are reimbursed for those costs within its per pupil foundation grant, nonpublic schools have not been similarly reimbursed for the costs. MCC has supported the legal defense of the appropriation as numerous public school advocacy groups have filed suit against the reimbursement. The Michigan Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments pertaining to the case in November.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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