SFRC seeks Executive Director to lead school funding group

The School Finance Research Collaborative seeks an Executive Director to provide vision, leadership, and oversight to accomplish the strategic goals of the organization as it moves into the next phase of its work on behalf of Michigan’s schools.

The Executive Director will partner closely with the organization’s Board of Directors to establish and expand upon those goals and develop a detailed work plan to meet them within agreed upon timelines.

The ideal candidate will have experience building advocacy campaigns, a track record of self-motivation and success in building collaborations and relationships with key partners, funders and communities along with the ability to manage tasks and plan ahead for what comes next.

The Executive Director is a new position being created as the SFRC turns its focus toward continuing the organization’s research projects, building support for adopting the SFRC’s research at the state level and establishing the SFRC as the single most respected voice in school finance in Michigan.

The Executive Director will report to and receive direction from the Board of Directors.

Organizational Background

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that was formed in 2016 as a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

The first efforts of the SFRC were to undertake a groundbreaking adequacy study to determine not only the true cost of providing a quality education to all students, regardless of their income, location or other circumstances, but identify better funding formulas that take into consideration geographic cost differences and the unique needs of each and every student in Michigan.

Since releasing their report in early 2018, the SFRC recommendations have been held up as the gold standard of how Michigan can – and should – better meet the needs of our schools and our students. It’s work has earned wide praise and agreement from educators and business leaders alike that the SFRC’s plan represents our state’s best path forward for funding our public schools, with multiple studies released since affirming the SFRC’s work.

The SFRC now is looking to expand on its initial report and both continue researching the needs of our schools and our students in a post COVID-19 environment while working with parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and others to build support for adopting the SFRC’s work as Michigan’s new funding approach for our K-12 schools.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership necessary to implement a state-wide awareness campaign to educate the public on the need to change how our public schools are funded.
  • Take responsibility for the day-to-day efforts of the SFRC.
  • Work closely with SFRC’s research team to ensure new research projects are both meeting agreed upon timelines and adhering to the SFRC’s standard of quality.
  • Meet with educators, school boards, business groups, community groups, unions, government officials and others to build awareness and collaboration around the SFRC’s work and goals.
  • Collaborate with the SFRC’s communications consultants to proactively position the organization to be the leading voice on school finance in Michigan.
  • Identify potential new funding partners and secure additional funding – including grant writing – to further the SFRC’s research and outreach efforts.
  • Manage the SFRC’s operational budget and ensure all SFRC work adheres to appropriate tax codes.
  • Lead efforts to expand legislative awareness of SFRC recommendations and the need to build state budgets around them.
  • Build new – and grow existing – partnerships with other organizations to further the work of the SFRC and its goals.
  • Identify additional organizational needs to achieve goals and make recommendations to the Board of Directors on them.
  • Build and maintain effective communication with both the Board of Directors and the SFRC membership at-large to keep them fully informed of the organization’s operations, financial health, strategy and operational issues in a timely manner.

Desired Background

The Executive Director does not need to be an expert on school finance, but must have an eagerness to learn from and work with the research team and possess the experience to know how to build the plan, the coalition and the resources necessary to turn the SFRC’s research into reality.

Education: Four year college degree (BS/BA) in any field, with a focus on political science, community organization, public or business administration, nonprofit management, communications, marketing or public relations preferred.

Experience: Candidate must have a background showing strong communications and influencing skills along with public speaking and writing. Candidate must have demonstrated an ability to develop and implement fundraising strategies along with an ability to build and sustain community relationships/partnerships.

Candidate must also have a demonstrated ability to be detail-oriented and manage multiple responsibilities at once. Political or advocacy campaign experience along with a history of working within the legislative and policy arena is preferred.

Candidate must be self-motivating and able to work on their own to accomplish tasks.

Location: While office space is available in Lansing, the day-to-day work of the position can be done remotely from a location of the Executive Director’s choosing.

Travel: The position will require travel within Michigan to meet with individuals and groups, as needed, to build collaboration and help educate others on the SFRC’s work. A current valid driver’s license and good driving record is required.

Salary

Salary is commensurate with experience and a specific compensation package will be discussed with the candidate upon their selection.

Application Instructions

To apply, please submit a resume and three references via email to Ms. Katie Whitman-Herzer at katie@k12michigan.org by the close of business on Friday, April 16, 2021.

Any questions about the position can be emailed to the address above.

For more information about the School Finance Research Collaborative, visit:
www.fundmischools.org

SFRC statement on Gov. Whitmer’s 2022 budget proposal

LANSING, Mich. — The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative member and Wayne RESA Superintendent Dr. Randy Liepa on proposed school-aid funding in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 budget plan.

“We first want to recognize the governor and Legislature for providing a budget this year that avoided funding cuts to education that were originally estimated. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the huge inequities and lack of fairness in Michigan’s school funding approach as students face new academic, emotional and physical challenges. It has never been more important for Gov. Whitmer and lawmakers from both parties to heed the SFRC’s research, which provides the roadmap for serving the unique, individual needs of all students, regardless of their circumstances. We would like to see these investments in next year’s budget.”

In the coming weeks, the School Finance Research Collaborative will present an updated version of its groundbreaking school adequacy study to reflect new costs and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit fundmischools.org for updates.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a bipartisan, diverse and broad-based group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to fix Michigan’s broken school funding approach.

In 2018, the School Finance Research Collaborative produced Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students to make the way we fund schools fairer. The research includes a weighted funding formula that serves all students, including those enrolled in special education, English Language Learners and students living in poverty.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

PRESS RELEASE: State education officials call on policymakers to follow SFRC’s school funding research

COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on need for fair, equitable school funding for all Michigan students 

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Board of Education met today and heard a presentation on the critical need for the state to adopt a new funding formula for Michigan schools based on the comprehensive School Finance Research Collaborative study.

“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the critical need for Michigan to adopt a funding model for our schools that focuses on the individual needs of our students and will help their recovery from this ongoing and unprecedented disruption in their lives,” said Robert McCann, SFRC project director. “We appreciate Superintendent Rice and the entire Board of Education for facilitating today’s discussion that again made it clear we can no longer accept the status quo when it comes to our state’s broken and outdated school funding formula. Our students will need every support available moving forward and adopting the SFRC’s equity based formula will ensure schools across our state can do exactly that.”

In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating a student, with additional funding considerations for special education students, students living in poverty, English Language Learners and Career and Technical Education programs.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

STATEMENT: Education Trust-Midwest echoes SFRC research calling for weighted school funding approach

LANSING, Mich. — The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director Robert McCann on Education Trust-Midwest’s new report that supports the Collaborative’s landmark school funding adequacy study:

“We welcome Education Trust-Midwest’s support for the School Finance Research Collaborative’s research, particularly the Collaborative’s call for policymakers to adopt its recommended weighted funding formula, which includes additional funding for special education, English Language Learners and students living in poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on huge inequities and the lack of fairness in Michigan’s school funding approach. Lawmakers grappling with the possibility of school cuts amid this public health crisis need to heed the recommendations of the SFRC report during the pandemic and beyond so our kids don’t continue falling behind.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to fix Michigan’s broken school funding approach. In 2018, the SFRC completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating a child in our state.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

PRESS RELEASE: Business leaders, education experts urge lawmakers to heed SFRC study in budget debate

LANSING, Mich. — Business leaders and education experts from across Michigan today called on policymakers to use the School Finance Research Collaborative study as a roadmap in determining school funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating a student, with additional funding considerations for special education students, students living in poverty, English Language Learners and Career and Technical Education programs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the huge inequities and the lack of fairness in how Michigan’s schools are funded,” said Dr. Randy Liepa, Wayne RESA superintendent and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “The public health crisis has also magnified glaring disparities already in place due to the outdated way we fund our schools. We see this in the digital divide. We also see it as educators do their very best with limited resources to support special education students from a distance.”

“We don’t know what it will cost to make our classrooms safe, such as providing Personal Protective Equipment to teachers and students and measures to accommodate social distancing in our classrooms and hallways,” said Ron Koehler, an education consultant and former assistant superintendent at Kent ISD. “We also don’t know the cost of continuing remote learning for our kids, or whether we will need to expand these programs to serve student needs. Despite great uncertainty, we need to make our kids our top priority in Michigan’s resurgence.”

“Michigan’s public schools are already woefully underfunded, and additional cuts would make a bad situation even worse for our kids,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “We strongly urge lawmakers to heed the findings of our research. We owe it to our kids to chart a new path that provides all students the same opportunity to succeed.”

“I can tell you firsthand Michigan’s businesses rely on our children receiving a solid K-12 education that prepares them for the real world,” said Doug Maibach, chairman of Barton Malow Enterprises. “That includes classroom learning as well as the life skills needed to succeed in a fiercely competitive global economy. Now is the time for our policymakers to adopt a new school funding plan that helps all students succeed, regardless of learning challenges, income, zip code or other circumstances.”

“It’s never been more important for lawmakers to heed the findings of the School Finance Research Collaborative report,” said Jim Stapleton, president and CEO of B&R Consultants, Regent Emeritus at Eastern Michigan University, and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “Our policymakers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to heed the SFRC’s research and make this long overdue investment in our kids. By using the Collaborative report as a guide, we can adopt a new approach that prepares all students for bright futures. If kids and educating them are truly the mission of both parties, then prioritizing funding their education cannot and should not be caught up in politics “

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

Click here for a recording of the media event.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

PRESS RELEASE: SFRC reacts to Legislature’s failure to allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds to serve Michigan’s students

COVID-19 relief bill another missed opportunity by policymakers to fix Michigan’s broken school funding approach

LANSING, Mich. — The following are statements from the School Finance Research Collaborative reacting to the Legislature passing a bill that fails to allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds to serve the unique, individual needs of Michigan’s K-12 students:

“Any additional school funding cuts could hamper a safe return to school and likely exacerbate the growing inequities in our schools, disproportionately affecting students with the greatest hurdles to learning,” said Dr. Randy Liepa, Wayne RESA superintendent. “From the digital divide to schools struggling to serve the needs of special education students, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the glaring disparities already in place in our broken school funding approach. As Michigan’s schools reopen, students will only continue falling further behind without a new school funding approach that helps them achieve and succeed.”

“It’s never been more important to follow the findings of the School Finance Research Collaborative study,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent. “A weighted school funding approach that serves all students, including those enrolled in special education, English Language Learners and students living in poverty, is essential to making sure all kids get a world-class education, regardless of their zip code. Our policymakers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to follow the SFRC’s research and make a long overdue investment in our public schools that helps prepare students for in-demand jobs, including careers in the skilled trades.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students, no matter their circumstances. The final Collaborative report provides a base cost for student achievement in Michigan, with additional funding considerations for special education, English Language Learners, Career and Technical Education programs and students living in poverty.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

 

STATEMENT: School Finance Research Collaborative reacts to revenue estimating conference

LANSING, Mich. — The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director Robert McCann regarding today’s revenue estimating conference.

“Today’s revenue estimating conference shines a light on the unprecedented economic and budgetary challenges our state faces due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan’s schools are already underfunded, as demonstrated in the School Finance Research Collaborative’s research. Additional funding cuts as we prepare to reopen our economy would make a bad situation even worse and further limit our ability to meet the unique needs of all students. We should not and cannot balance next year’s budget on the backs of Michigan students, which will further hamper their ability to achieve, succeed and compete in the 21st century economy.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students, regardless of  their circumstances. The final Collaborative report provides a base cost for student achievement in Michigan, with additional funding considerations for special education, English Language Learners, Career and Technical Education programs and students living in poverty.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

STATEMENT: SFRC reacts to executive order closing school buildings for rest of school year

LANSING, Mich. —  The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director Robert McCann reacting to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order closing public school buildings for the remainder of the school year during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic:

“The School Finance Research Collaborative supports Gov. Whitmer’s executive order closing public school buildings for the remainder of the school year to protect the health, safety and well-being of all Michigan students, families, teachers and support staff. For schools to be successful in supporting students through this crisis, they will need lawmakers to step up, provide badly needed funding immediately, and fix Michigan’s broken funding formula to ensure schools have the flexibility they need going forward.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

The Collaborative has provided Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost to educate a child in our state. The final report provides a base cost for student achievement in Michigan, with additional funding considerations for special education, students living in poverty, English Language Learners and Career and Technical Education programs.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

STATEMENT: School funding group reacts to Gov. Whitmer’s 2020-2021 budget proposal

LANSING, Mich. —  The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director Robert McCann reacting to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020-2021 budget proposal:

“Gov. Whitmer’s 2020-2021 budget proposal takes significant steps toward a weighted school funding formula as recommended in the School Finance Research Collaborative report, including additional funding for special education services, at-risk students, students living in poverty and English Language Learners. We applaud the governor for her continued support for a new, fairer school funding approach that helps all students succeed, whether they are bound for college, technical school, skilled trades careers or jobs right after high school. Using the Collaborative report as a roadmap, we look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to adopt a new approach that ensures all students succeed, regardless of income, zip code, learning challenges or other circumstances.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students to make the way we fund schools more fair. The final Collaborative report provides a base cost for student achievement in Michigan, with additional funding considerations for special education, English Language Learners, Career and Technical Education programs, students living in poverty, preschool, geographic isolation, district size, cost of living differences and student transportation.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

STATEMENT: SFRC applauds Gov. Whitmer’s support for weighted school funding method

LANSING, Mich. —  The following is a statement from School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director Robert McCann on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s support for a weighted school funding approach in her State of the State address:

“We applaud Gov. Whitmer’s support for a weighted school funding approach as detailed in the 2018 School Finance Research Collaborative report and supported by Gov. Whitmer in her original 2019-2020 budget proposal. We appreciate the governor’s attention to third-grade literacy, which will only be improved with a new, fairer school funding approach that helps all students succeed, regardless of their circumstances.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a diverse group of business leaders and education experts, from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded. In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students to make the way we fund schools more fair.

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For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1