Dear Friend,

As your state senator and a proud parent, there are few things more important to me than making sure Michigan’s children receive the best education possible. Getting a great start or having access to early college credit programs opens the doors of opportunity and sets our children up for future success. I am fighting every day to make sure we are prioritizing school funding so our children — and our state — will have a promising tomorrow.

In this newsletter, I am proud to share highlights of funding that I supported in the education budget that the governor signed in mid-July, information about financial aid programs offered through state and federal government, and some great tips on how to foster kids’ love of reading.

If there’s anything I can do to help you and your family, please let me know. There is no wrong reason to reach out to me and my office. If we cannot help you, we will direct you to the person and place that can provide any help you need along the way. You can contact me toll-free at (855) DIST003 (855-847-8003), by email at or through my website online at

I look forward to hearing from you!

Working for you,

Sylvia Santana
State Senator
District 3

Toll-free: (855) DIST003 or (855) 347-8003
Click here to review the PDF version of the newsletter

Senator Santana Helps Secure Record Funding for Education

On Thursday, July 14, 2022, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 845, a bipartisan education budget bill that makes the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history, invests half a billion dollars in school infrastructure, funds teacher recruitment, bolsters school safety, expands mental health resources, and so much more.

This budget designates a record $19.6 billion to PreK-12 schools, $530 million to community colleges, and $3.5 billion to universities — all without raising taxes.

Every kid in every district deserves to feel safe and supported in school, and this legislation places the much-needed emphasis on funding education the way it always should have been. I am so proud to have been able to vote ‘yes’ on behalf of Senate District 3 residents in support of an education budget that invests in our kids, their parents, and our educators as follows:


The education budget that was passed will provide the highest state per-pupil funding in Michigan history — $9,150 for students in every district, along with additional support for the nearly 200,000 special education students and 710,000 at-risk students in Michigan. We also agreed to expand free preschool under the Great Start Readiness Program to 1,300 more kids and increase funding for career and technical education programs by 27%.

Mental Health

This education budget provides increased funding for teen centers, district mental health grants, and TRAILS, which offers training to school mental health professionals so they can better serve students with evidence-based services.

Learning Supports

My legislative colleagues and I agreed to expand before- and after-school programs to keep kids engaged. We voted to provide funding for MI Kids Back on Track, the governor’s proposal to offer every kid in Michigan tutoring to help catch up and get back on track for long-term success, and resources for districts to develop learning pods for academically at-risk and economically disadvantaged students.

Student Safety

This budget provides funds to hire more on-campus school resource officers; create an intervention system for at-risk students that brings together law enforcement, schools, and mental health professionals; and establish a school safety commission.

School Infrastructure

$250 million was budgeted for school infrastructure needs, including resources to help schools build or refurbish classrooms, labs, and libraries. Money is also being provided for the assessment of the current state of a school’s infrastructure, to help determine future funding needs.

Teacher Recruitment

I voted to support Funding MI Future Educator Fellowships, which pay up to $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future Michigan educators every year, $9,600 stipends a semester for student teachers, and Grow-Your-Own programs that help districts put support staff on no-cost paths to become educators. I also supported additional funding for career and technical education educators and the Troops-to-Teachers program that connects veterans with mentor teachers as they work to become certified educators. And we made sure to include a robust investment to guarantee retired teachers have the stable, secure retirement that they deserve.

The “Santana Six”


Our children’s success in school and in life depends on their reading. It’s on all of us to foster their love of books so that we can set them up for a lifetime of success in whatever they choose to pursue. Here’s how you can help a young reader:

Make Reading Part of Their Daily Routine

Find time in the daily schedule for children to read. It doesn’t matter whether it’s before bed, before they eat dessert, or after a meal. Sticking to a regular schedule will keep reading consistent, and it will naturally make reading a part of their daily habit that they can enjoy, instead of looking at it as a chore.

Be the Example

Our children learn from us. When they see us reading magazines, newspapers, or books, it shows them that reading is important. And, when they see that reading is important to their parents, it encourages them to read as well.

Listen to Your Child Read

Have your child read aloud to you and listen to them. If they struggle with pronouncing words, or if their reading is choppy and they make mistakes, have them read it again while you help them. This will improve their reading skills and show your children you care about their reading.

Talk to Your Children

When your child finishes a book, talk to them about it. Ask them what their favorite part was, who their favorite character was, and ask them about what happened in the story. It’s a great way to be involved in their reading, and it will enhance their reading comprehension.

Reading Should Be a Choice

It’s good for parents to make suggestions, but you should never force your child to read a certain book. There’s no quicker way to make them uninterested and unenthused about reading than by telling them what to read. So, when you go to a library or bookstore with your child, let them explore and pick out books that they like. It will keep them interested and, most importantly, keep them reading.

Find Reading Programs

Many libraries and schools offer reading programs during the summer that will keep your children in the habit of reading every day. They also have the benefit of having your children be around other children their own age who are usually reading the same book, and that will help them to talk about what they are reading with their peers.

MI Student Aid

MI Student Aid is a public financial aid resource for college loans and grants. Last year, students in our district received $3.5 million in financial aid, grants, loans, and scholarships. If you’re going to be a senior in high school and want to attend college, check your eligibility, and apply to as many financial aid programs and scholarships are you can! There are never too many scholarships or grants to apply for. Every amount of money can help keep you in school — and from acquiring large amounts of student debt when you graduate.

Below are some of the financial aid programs offered through our federal and state government:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):
MI Student Aid Student Portal:

In addition to the general MI Student Aid program, there are many grants and scholarships you can apply for directly through MI Student Aid’s website, including:

Tuition Incentive Program | Michigan Tuition Grant
Children of Veterans Tuition Grant | Fostering Futures Scholarship
Michigan Competitive Scholarship

Preparing for the Next Stage

Every stage of your children’s education is important and requires preparation. Below are a few tips for each stage that I hope will help you — and them — prepare and succeed in the coming academic year.


Read to your child

Asparents,weareourchild’sfirsteducator. Spending time reading to, and with, your child is priceless. Reading a book with them also helps to build their language comprehension and makes learning to read easier.


Get organized

When preparing for middle school, the number one mission is to be organized. Going from one teacher to several can be tricky but having a system in place that keeps school materials organized is the best place to start. Color coding, or even using a different folder and notebook for every class, will help keep homework organized too.


Be well-rounded

High school is a time to sharpen both academic and social skills. Take time to try new clubs, sports, or other activities so that you can learn about yourself. College will be far easier if you know how to relax, and balance school with outside activities

Have a daily routine

Establish a schedule with your child, because when they go to school, there will be one there that they will need to follow. If they are used to a schedule at home, the transition will be much easier for them.

Take notes

There is no right, or wrong, way to take notes. The key is making sure to understand them and being able to use them to complete homework assignments and to study for tests. Everyone has their own style of notes — whether using pictures, graphs or just writing everything down — but just double-check to make sure the information is recorded correctly.

Get smart about money

It is never too early to learn the value of a dollar and how to manage your money. Set up an account at a credit union or a bank and, when you do, ask a parent, guardian, or bank employee to teach you the basics of money management. This is a valuable skill that you will use for the rest of your life, and it is much easier to learn early on when the stakes are low.

Great Books to Read with Children

The Library of Michigan recently published a list of recommended books for kindergarteners through second graders. My staff and I sat down and read many of the books on this list, and our top picks for you are listed!

These books will push your children to learn new vocabulary and help with their pronunciation. I hope you have as much fun reading them with your children as we did!

And Then It’s Spring
Julie Fogliano
A lovely story about a child and his dog planting a garden. Their anticipation builds after a long winter and they can’t wait to see that spring is finally on its way.

Bear has a Story to Tell
Philip C. Stead
This cute story is about a bear trying to tell his friends a story, while helping them get ready for winter. It’s a heartwarming tale about friendship and patience.

Dozens of Cousins
Shutta Crum
A lively book about a great family reunion. The funny stories and colorful pictures are wonderful!

The Spaghetti-Slurping Sewer Serpent
Laura Ripes
It’s a bit of a tongue-twister at times, but this wonderful adventure about Sammy Sanders trying to uncover the truth about what is in the sewers is well worth the read.

Great Lakes Rhythm & Rhyme
Denise Rodgers
This is a terrific book full of poems and poetry about our Great Lakes. It covers everything — history, people, the lakes, lighthouses, cities, and more!