Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Diverting attention

School funding in Michigan is contentious.

There are some school districts in the state that receive more money than other school districts.

There are several ways to show what school districts receive.

There is the per pupil calcuation (shown by the Senate report). Most districts are in the $7,100 to $7,500 dollars per pupil. Some in the $8,000 range. And there are some in the $11,000 range.

The Bulletin 1014 report that is published by the Michigan Department of Education shows all the money that comes to a district. This report lags real-time a bit. The latest report is from the 2013-2014 school year. Here everything is calcuated and the range for each school shows more that what the per pupil range from the Senate report shows.

What is undenialable is that most schools are more or less at one level of funding, some schools are higher, and a few schools are very high.

While the conversation could be about why do schools receive different amounts of money (and that is a worthwhile conversation to have), the real conversation should be about what is the true cost of educating a student in Michigan.

Last year's legislature passed a bill that would complete an education adequacy study. The question that is more important to answer is not what each district currently gets per pupil. The real question is what does it really cost to educate students in Michigan?

Focusing on what each district currently receives diverts attention from the more critical question of what is the true cost of educating the students in Michigan.

I would encourage the legislature to fully fund this study. It is time for us to know the cost of educating the students in our state. 

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