PROOS: Getting ready for kids to head back to school

It’s hard to believe, but summer vacation is nearly over and another school year is about to start. Michigan students will soon be busy doing homework, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

A good education is critical for children to become tomorrow’s skilled workers and leaders. As parents, we have important roles to play in our children’s education.

To help ensure all students are equipped to learn, the Niles Salvation Army is hosting its annual Back to School Backpack Giveaway on Aug. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. at 424 N. 15th St. in Niles. This program is available to all students in the Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan school districts and all school districts in Cass County. Additional programs are also being held at Cassopolis First Church of God at 21083 Spencer Road in Cassopolis on Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. and Sept. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Parents will need to bring their picture ID, social security card for each student, and proof of which school the student will be attending. For more information, call (269) 684-2660.

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is also partnering with area businesses and organizations to host its School Supply Spectacular to provide backpacks with age-appropriate supplies to Cass County low-income students. It is being held on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brookside Learning Center at 61662 Dailey Road in Cassopolis. A limited number of backpacks will also be available on Aug. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Marcellus Methodist Church at 197 W. Main in Marcellus. For the United Way event, children must be present to receive a backpack and be accompanied by an adult.

Since education is so important, I was proud to support more investment in our kids as we finalized the state budget. The fiscal year 2018-19 budget once again increases funding for our schools to record levels.

Every school in Michigan will receive an increase in funding — with most schools seeing the largest per-pupil increase in 17 years. We are also making a $1.3 billion contribution into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System to control costs, reduce debt and meet the needs of current retired teachers.

As a result of this proactive budget, more resources will be going directly into the classroom to teach our students, and that is good news for everyone. I hope you all have a great school year!

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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