News Bite

Local United Way Raises Money For School Supplies State Already Must Provide

With $6.1 billion in federal COVID funds pouring into Michigan public schools money is no obstacle

A WOOD-TV news article covered an Aug. 21 “Stuff the Bus” event in Grand Rapids sponsored by the regional United Way office.

The article stated: “Donations will be given to K-12 schools within Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kenowa Hills, Godfrey Lee, Wyoming, Kentwood and Sparta.”

A United Way spokeswoman stated gifts would be used for “basic needs” such as "school supplies, uniforms and shoes.”

Michigan law — reinforced by a 1972 state Supreme Court ruling — requires public school districts to provide any necessary school supplies to parents at no charge, though not shoes. Schools must also provide all necessary classroom supplies, despite frequent claims of teachers burdened by paying for these out of their own pockets.

Moreover, Michigan’s public schools are set to receive a total of $6.1 billion in epidemic-related federal money.

Grand Rapids Public Schools, for example, will receive $120.9 million in federal COVID money. The Grand Rapids school district had total revenue of $211 million in 2020.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.