Read: Let MI Kids Learn Campaign | Sign Today

Have you given your signature yet in support of the proposed new law which, if approved, will help countless low-income families across Michigan access Catholic education?

The organizer of the ballot initiative campaign, known as Let MI Kids Learn, would like signed petitions back by early May so that they can prepare them to submit them to the state by the June 1 deadline. So, if you can, don’t delay! Thank you.

“A Catholic education is one of the greatest gifts a parent or guardian could ever bestow upon their child – hence anything we can do to make a Catholic education more accessible and affordable to all has to be welcomed,” said Tom Maloney, Superintendent for Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Lansing, April 26.

“At the same time, the Let MI Kids Learn campaign will also help provide greater educational opportunities for all families within our community, especially the most vulnerable, and, so, will advance the common good while also enhancing the role of parents as the primary educator of their children.”

The Diocese of Lansing is among many supporters of the Let MI Kids Learn campaign, which is a citizen-initiated proposal to create student opportunity scholarships in state law. If the petition gets enough signatures, it can be approved by the Michigan Legislature and become law without the signature of the Governor who vetoed a similar measure approved by the Legislature late last year.

The proposal would allow low-income parents to apply for scholarships that could be put toward almost any education resource for their children, such as online classes, Wi-Fi, laptops, tuition, tutoring, transportation, and textbooks. Students who attend any kind of school - public, private or home school - could qualify for the funds.

Scholarships would also be available to families through state-approved non-profits, which could include Catholic school foundations. Donors to scholarship organizations would receive a state tax credit as an incentive to donate to the scholarship funds.

The scholarships would especially benefit students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, students in foster care, and special needs students. But the program is broad enough to include students whose families make up to $98,000 a year for a family of four.

It is estimated that more than one million Michigan students could benefit from these scholarships and, while 90% of those students go to public schools, the scholarships would also be made available to non-public and homeschool students. So, all low-income families could benefit from the scholarships, regardless of where they send their children to school.

Boxes of these petitions, with instructions on how to properly collect signatures, have been sent to parishes and Catholic schools across the state, and all Catholics are being encouraged participate by signing the petitions or helping collect signatures.

As a non-partisan effort, Catholic schools and parishes can fully participate in this campaign which is supported by all the bishops of Michigan because, they believe, it would give parents more options and provide low-income families with more choice in their children's education.

• To sign the petitions or learn how to help, contact your parish and ask about the Let MI Kids Learn petition drive. For further information, visit the Let MI Kids Learn campaign website.