Adequacy Study Provides Clear Direction for Funding Michigan’s Schools

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is still shortchanging its students—not only in the amount of dollars being provided, but in supplying adequate resources for a quality public education. That’s the main message from the school funding study released today by the School Finance Research Collaborative.

While this information may not be new or surprising, it continues to beg the question—where does Michigan go from here?

“MASB has been supportive and appreciative of the action the SFRC has taken to provide us with the most complete data available on Michigan-specific school funding,” said MASB Executive Director Don P. Wotruba, CAE. “And it shows that we’re not investing in education the way we need to be to ensure Michigan students are well educated.

“We encourage policymakers to begin implementation on a few key report recommendations, and will be calling on our members to make that message clear with each of their legislators and other influencers.”

The recommendations include:

  • Using the results of the study to create an adequacy-based funding system with appropriate base cost, weights and adjustments for district characteristics.
  • Keeping in mind that, during the implementation of a new system, student and taxpayer equity will need to be considered.
  • Pending further study, transportation funding should be provided outside of the base per student amount and funding should be tied to actual transportation costs.
  • Modifications to how retirement costs are managed, particularly funding the unfunded liability outside of the base cost per student.

MASB members will have an opportunity to hear directly from conveners of the study through an interactive session at its Winter Institute on Feb. 23, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant.