LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved the fiscal year 2019 School Aid budget, proposing to invest $14.7 billion in K-12 education. The proposal is $149 million more than current year spending.

“I am pleased that the Senate has once again approved a School Aid budget that invests more than the previous year, increases per-pupil funding and makes strategic investments in our children’s education,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, vice chair of the Senate Education Committee. “We have provided additional funding for programs ranging from reading and literacy to STEM programs like First Robotics.”

The Senate’s School Aid budget would provide an increase of between $115 and $230 per pupil in the foundation allowance funding over the current year.

Other key investments in the budget plan include $30 million for reading programs for tutoring, literacy coaches and professional development; $550,000 for a new summer reading pilot program; a restoration of $25 million to the state’s cyberschools and more than $116 million in shared time funding to schools that offer classes to nonpublic students; $7 million for benchmark testing and kindergarten assessments; $2.8 million for First Robotics programs; and $5 million for expanded career tech education programs. The budget also allocates $1.3 billion to pay down school employee retiree costs.

Knollenberg also supported an amendment that would have prevented School Aid funding meant for K-12 education from being spent on higher education and community colleges, which are supported in a separate budget.

“I am committed to the continued support of our schoolchildren, and I am proud that we have been able to increase funding for K-12 education by more than $1 billion since I came to the Senate,” Knollenberg said.

Senate Bill 863 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.