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Defending transparency in schools for our parents

Michigan’s current system assigns a letter grade ‘A’ through ‘F’ to several areas of school performance, including proficiency in reading and math, student growth, graduation rates, and a school’s performance in comparison with its peers. I stood firm against a recent attempt to eliminate this system and voted no to defend your right to transparency as parents and taxpayers on the bill. 

House Bill 4166 will eliminate the A-F accountability system for Michigan public schools.

I offered an amendment that would have maintained an easy-to-understand rating system so parents can easily keep an eye on school performance. Unfortunately, my amendment was defeated by Senate Democrats.

Please watch below:

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Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month. While I am sure that like me, you are grateful every day for the brave men and women of our nation’s armed forces, this month is an opportunity to fully honor the sacrifices our U.S. military has made to protect our freedoms.

I want to take a moment to highlight House Bill 4199, which I was proud to support. This bill allows the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs to extend tuition assistance under the Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program to spouses or dependents of eligible service members. Military families undergo tremendous sacrifice, and they deserve the recognition they have earned.

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Helping schools in rural Michigan

I recently introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 173, which would have helped rural school districts with transportation costs to ensure students can get to the classroom to learn. Please take a moment to watch my floor speech on this below, it is a critical need for Northern Michigan.

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Spark grant applications now open

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced the second round of the Michigan Spark Grant is now open. The grant program was created through the passage of Senate Bill 565 in 2022.

SB 565, signed into law as Public Act 53 of 2022, provided up to $65 million to help communities across the state develop or create outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Applications for the Michigan Spark Grant’s second round opened May 1 and will run through June 26. Eligible applicants must be local units of government or public authorities legally designated to provide public recreation or regional or statewide organizations of such entities working together.

Individual grant amounts will range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $1 million and will be distributed in three rounds:

• Round one: $15 million, CLOSED.
• Round two: $25 million, May 1 – June 26, 2023.
• Round three: $25 million, summer of 2023.

All projects must be completed by Dec. 31, 2026. For more information, including program details and to watch a recorded informational webinar, please visit the Michigan Spark Grant website.

District meeting with SAFE local youth

This month, I had an awesome meeting with members of the local SAFE youth chapter in Petoskey. These impressive students brought to me some engaging ideas surrounding drug use prevention and resources for kids in our local schools. I was so impressed with their dedication to their peer’s safety and their knowledge on a very expansive topic.

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Great Lakes Sports Commission funding for our district

We had two incredible projects in the 37th Senate district receive funding this month. I worked closely with local chambers, the Great Lakes Sports Commission, and the project leads to help get these projects off the ground. Congratulations to both the Petoskey Winter Sports Park, and the Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitors Bureau for their awards to grow some great projects for our residents and visitors! I can’t wait to see the improvements to both the I-500 track, and the winter sports park come to life.

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The battle to save Cornwall Creek Dam continues

We have been working hard in Lansing to save the Cornwall Creek Dam in Cheboygan County.

The DNR has plans to remove the dam that created the flooding. I have been working with Reps. Ken Borton and Cam Cavitt to try and get the DNR the support they need to keep the dam operational. I have signed onto letters, attended a rally at the flooding, held meetings with the DNR, and recently, got a Save Cornwall sign for my office.

I will continue to do what I can to help preserve this community treasure.

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High school graduation season

It is graduation season again here in Michigan!

I pray that graduates all find success and happiness in their pursuits. I love this part of the job, even though signing thousands of certificates by hand is a massive undertaking.

Please join me in wishing our graduates heartfelt congratulations and best of luck in their future endeavors.

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Michigan's 37th Senate District

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Michigan’s 37th Senate District includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Leelanau counties and portions of Mackinac and Chippewa counties.

Senator John Damoose
4300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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