In the spring we discovered that grant funding for robotics teams has been pulled from the Michigan House version of the School Aid Budget and issued a call to action.
Our ask was to support the Senate version of Section 99h of the School Aid budget. WE SUCCEDED!
On September 24, 2019, the Michigan House and Senate passed a budget compromise that included language and funding for a number of competitive robotics programs used throughout northern Michigan.
Last year, Chambers were successful in seeking changes to Section 99h of the 2018-2019 School Aid Fund budget allowed for both FIRST and VEX competitive robotics programs to be eligible for state robotics grants. In addition, legislators boosted the eligible statewide grant pool to $4 million for both VEX and FIRST Robotics programs.
These small but significant changes led to explosive growth in both the number of new teams and competitions in over 450 school districts around the state. That meant: more districts, more students, more excitement, and more STEM.
What’s even more exciting is that nearly half of that growth came from students and school districts in northern Michigan.
Some of the rough growth numbers from last year’s budget:
This is another budget win for northern Michigan. Thanks are in order for Senator Wayne Schmidt and Representative Aaron Miller – both chairs of the School Aid budget – for their work on finding a compromise on the language and funding to keep STEM activities moving forward in northern Michigan.