Kent County education leaders weigh in on state budget needs for classrooms, programming 


KENTWOOD, Mich. (March 30, 2023) — Today, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Assistant Majority Leader Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) visited Brookwood Elementary School and held a roundtable discussion to seek input from students, teachers and administrators about education funding needs for the area. They were joined by Kevin Polston, Superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools, and Kentwood students, educators and administrators to have a productive conversation about how the state can support school operations.

“Kentwood educators and administrators have a lot to be proud of, and I thank them for welcoming us into their school for a meaningful discussion about the state of education and where we must go from here,” Sen. Brinks said. “For too long, legislators have prescribed unwanted policies to teachers and schools to drive a certain political narrative. We’re telling teachers, support staff, administrators, students, and their parents that their agenda is our agenda, and we’re going to work hand-in-hand to strengthen our public schools and set kids up for success.” 


As chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12 Education, Sen. Camilleri is conducting a statewide education tour in effort to collect insight from a range of Michigan educators and incorporate their feedback into the forthcoming state budget. The tour began earlier this week in Dearborn and will also be making stops in Saginaw and Macomb County.  

“When it comes to the needs of Michigan students, we want to hear directly from the source, and that’s why I’m going directly to schools across our state,” said Sen. Camilleri. “Needs vary from community to community, and even from building to building, and we need a PreK-12 budget that empowers school districts to meet those needs. It’s honest conversations like the one we had today that shed light on what we’re doing right as a state and what we can be doing better to support our students and their goals.” 

“Kentwood Public Schools is recognized across the state and nation for high achievement and unique diversity. As the most diverse district in the state and the seventh-most diverse in the nation, we appreciate the opportunity to share our perspective, experiences and recommendations with our state leaders today,” said Kevin Polston, Superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools. “We are grateful for the Legislature’s prompt action on punitive education policies like the third-grade reading law, and recognition that policy decisions must align with research-based recommendations for the needs of our students. We appreciate today’s student- and community-centered conversation to help inform school funding decisions.”


Topics at today’s conversation included: 


  • Third-Grade Reading Retention; 
  • Needs of English-Language Learners;  
  • Teacher Support;
  • School Safety; and 
  • School Funding and Investment Needs 


Members of the subcommittee will be assembling the PreK-12 budget over the course of the spring, and residents are encouraged to share their ideas and input with Sen. Brinks at and Sen. Camilleri at