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Republicans Propose $1.3B Plan To Help K-12 Schools Reopen

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature will propose a $1.3 billion one-time funding boost to help K-12 schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan being unveiled Tuesday also calls for letting schools start before Labor Day without needing a waiver, redefining "attendance" to allow for online learning and reducing the number of snow day allowances so remote instruction occurs instead.

The GOP proposal, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, would increase state funding by $800 a student to implement "robust" distance-learning plans and to cover new health and safety measures. Frontline teachers would each get a $500 bonus.

Schools were closed in March due to COVID-19 and later finished the academic year with remote instruction. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected next week to issue an order outlining minimum safety standards for schools she hopes to let reopen for in-person instruction as long as cases do not surge again.

The $1.3 billion would come from $3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding. Schools still face potential cuts to base funding due to a decline in tax revenues, though there is a push to avoid reductions by leaning on Congress to give the state flexibility with the rescue aid and to pass another round of funding.

© 2020 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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