Catholics across Michigan - including Catholic Advocacy Network members like you - are invited to help collect signatures toward creating a law to help low-income families afford education expenses like tuition and tutoring.
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is among the supporters of the Let MI Kids Learn campaign, which is a citizen-initiated proposal to create student opportunity scholarships in state law, after the Governor vetoed a similar measure approved by the Legislature late last year. If this petition gets enough signatures, it can be approved by the Legislature and become law without the Governor's signature.
The proposal would allow low-income parents to apply for scholarships that could be put toward virtually any education resource for their children, such as online classes, Wi-Fi, laptops, tuition, tutoring, transportation, and textbooks. Students who attend any kind of school - public, private or home school - could qualify for the funds.
Scholarships would be available to families through state-approved nonprofits, which could include Catholic school foundations. Donors to scholarship organizations would receive a state tax credit as an incentive to donate to the scholarship funds.
The scholarships would especially benefit students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, students in foster care, and special needs students. But the program is broad enough to include students whose families make up to $98,000 a year for a family of four.
It is estimated that more than 1 million Michigan students could benefit from these scholarships, and while 90% of those students go to public schools, the scholarships would also be made available to nonpublic and homeschool students. So all low-income families could benefit from these scholarships, regardless of where they send their children to school.
Boxes of these petitions, with instructions on how to properly collect signatures, have been sent to parishes and Catholic schools across the state, and all Catholics are encouraged participate by signing the petitions or helping collect signatures.
As this is a nonpartisan effort, our Catholic schools and parishes can fully participate in this important campaign, which is supported by the bishops of Michigan because it would give parents more options and provide low-income families with more choice in their children's education.
But time is of the essence: The campaign is expecting petitions back by early May, so that they can prepare all the petition forms to be submitted to the state by the June 1 deadline.
The state House and Senate did not hold session this past week due to their spring break. Both legislative bodies will be off next week as well, and are scheduled to return to session Tuesday, April 12.