Michigan schools need a fairer funding model for all students

As Superintendent of Wayne RESA, I read with great interest a recent Bridge guest commentary by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

While there has been dueling commentary over the past several years about whether funding for Michigan schools has increased or decreased, school officials doing the actual work in local districts know clearly what has happened over the past many years.

Read More ›

PRESS RELEASE: Collaborative discusses need for school funding equity at MI Civil Rights Commission hearing

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The School Finance Research Collaborative on Monday addressed the need for a new, equitable school funding approach that serves the needs of all students at a Michigan Civil Rights Commission hearing in Clinton Township. The Collaborative discussed its roadmap for a fairer school funding method as part of the commission’s hearing on addressing discrimination in Michigan’s K-12 schools.

“Michigan’s school funding method is broken, and Monday’s Civil Rights Commission hearing was the perfect venue to discuss the need for a new, fairer method that ensures all students have the same opportunity to get a good education, including students enrolled in special education or living in poverty,” said Dr. Michael Addonizio, a Wayne State University professor of education studies and Collaborative member, who spoke at the hearing. “Michigan’s one-size-fits-all approach fails to meet the needs of far too many students, especially those who live in our poorest communities. Now is the time to address the unique, individual needs of all students to provide the opportunities for college and careers they deserve.”

In 2018, the School Finance Research Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study, providing a roadmap to fixing Michigan’s broken school funding approach and making it fair for all students. The Collaborative is a bipartisan, diverse group of business leaders and education experts from all corners of Michigan who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

Michigan State University College of Education professor David Arsen, who has completed his own, independent school funding research, also attended Monday’s hearing. Arsen’s recent study supports the Collaborative’s findings that it costs a minimum $9,590 to educate a child in Michigan, and that additional funding is needed for students living in poverty, English Language Learners and students enrolled in special education.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer utilized the Collaborative’s findings in her recent budget proposal, including a weighted funding approach that serves the needs of all students.

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: School finance group applauds Gov. Whitmer’s plan to help all students succeed

LANSING, Mich. — The School Finance Research Collaborative today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for calling for a new school funding approach that will help meet the unique needs of all Michigan students.

“We applaud Gov. Whitmer for calling for a new, fairer school funding approach that will help meet the needs of all Michigan students,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director. “We look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer on a new funding method that provides all students the same opportunity to get a high-quality education and compete for jobs.”

Whitmer’s education budget plan calls for a boost in per-pupil funding, and additional funding for special education, at-risk students and Career and Technical Education programs.

“I applaud Gov. Whitmer’s call for a new school funding approach, including greater funding for Career and Technical Education programs,” said Doug Maibach, Chairman of Barton Malow Enterprises, and a School Finance Research Collaborative member. “It’s time for a new, fairer school funding approach that helps us fill Michigan’s talent gap.”

“I support Gov. Whitmer’s call for a new school funding approach that helps prepare all students for the modern workforce,” said Jim Stapleton, a Detroit-area businessman and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “Michigan is long overdue for a new school funding approach that helps provide students with in-demand skills for good-paying jobs. That is a concept everyone, irrespective of party affiliation, can and should support.”

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

“School funding is not a Republican issue or Democratic issue,” said Rick Johnson, former Michigan House Speaker, and a School Finance Research Collaborative member. “It’s a Michigan issue, and I applaud Gov. Whitmer for laying the groundwork for a new approach that helps all students achieve and succeed.”

###

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

STATEMENT: Gov. Whitmer highlights need for new, fairer school funding approach in State of the State

LANSING, Mich.  — The following is a statement from Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director:

“I applaud Gov. Whitmer for recognizing the need for a new, fairer school funding approach that meets the unique, individual and wide-ranging learning needs of all students in tonight’s State of the State address,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director. “Using Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study as a roadmap, we look forward to working with the governor as we chart a new path toward fixing Michigan’s broken school funding approach, ensuring every Michigan student has the same opportunity at getting a good education and competing for 21st century jobs.”

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. Read the full Collaborative report.

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: School finance group applauds Gov. Whitmer for making education a top priority

LANSING, Mich. — The School Finance Research Collaborative today applauded Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for making a high-quality education for all Michigan students a top priority in her upcoming State of the State address, according to media reports.

“The School Finance Research Collaborative applauds Gov. Whitmer for her commitment to providing a high-quality education to all Michigan students, and for making education a top priority in her upcoming State of the State address,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Project Director. “Using Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study as a roadmap, we look forward to working with the governor on a new, fairer school funding approach that meets the unique, individual needs of all students and prepares them for 21st century careers.”

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

“A high-quality public school education is essential to preparing our kids for the fiercely competitive modern workforce in any business large or small across Michigan, and I am excited to see Gov. Whitmer placing this issue at the top of her To Do List,” said Doug Maibach, Chairman of Barton Malow Enterprises. “We must chart a new path that ensures all students, regardless of their circumstances, have the same opportunity at getting a cutting-edge education that provides them with in-demand skills for good-paying jobs. I agree with Gov. Whitmer’s statement of the issue, ‘Everyone in Michigan has a right to an educational path to success — whether that is a certificate in the skilled trades, technical apprenticeship or to pursue a college- track career.’”

“Our schools are struggling to meet student performance standards, and our students will continue falling behind their peers around the globe without a new school funding approach that meets their wide-ranging needs,” said former Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson, R-Leroy. “Now is the time for change, and I look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer to fix Michigan’s broken school funding approach to make it more fair for all students.”

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: MSU report endorses findings of School Finance Research Collaborative study

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new Michigan State University report endorses the findings of the School Finance Research Collaborative’s study that determined the true cost of educating all students to make the way we fund schools more fair. MSU College of Education professor David Arsen supports the Collaborative’s work in his new report, Michigan School Finance at the Crossroads: A Quarter Century of State Control.

“This important research further validates our call for a new, fairer school funding system that meets the wide-ranging, individual and unique needs of all Michigan students and provides the support services necessary to prepare them for college and jobs,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Interim Project Director. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to educating our kids, and a new school funding system is needed that serves all students, regardless of zip code, income, learning challenges or other circumstances.”

In his assessment of Michigan’s school funding system, Arsen supports the Collaborative study’s findings that it costs a minimum $9,590 to educate a child to Michigan’s academic standards, and that additional funding considerations are needed for students living in poverty, English Language Learners and special education students.

“Right now, Michigan’s school funding system fails to meet the needs of far too many students, and this new research further proves the need to provide all students the opportunities they deserve, whether that means college, technical training, apprenticeships or jobs right after graduation,” said Rob Fowler, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, and a School Finance Research Collaborative member. “By following the Collaborative’s roadmap for a new, fairer school funding system, we can provide a high-quality education to all students that provides them with competitive skills for good-paying jobs.”

In 2018, the School Finance Research Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study. The 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.

###

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

 

PRESS RELEASE: SFRC looking forward to working with Gov. Whitmer on new school funding approach

LANSING, MICH. – The School Finance Research Collaborative is looking forward to working with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the new Legislature on a new, fairer school funding approach that addresses the unique, individual learning needs of all Michigan public school students, the school funding group announced today.

“The School Finance Research Collaborative congratulates Gov. Whitmer and the new Legislature as they begin settling into their offices and tackling the many challenges facing the state of Michigan,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative Interim Project Director and Oakland Schools superintendent. “We are looking forward to sitting down with the governor and state lawmakers to discuss a new school funding approach that provides every student with the same opportunity to receive a high-quality education and compete for good-paying jobs.”

In 2018, the School Finance Research 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 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 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.

“Now is the time for action to fix Michigan’s broken school funding system to meet the needs of all students, no matter their circumstances, and the Collaborative study provides the roadmap for our newly elected leaders to do just that,” said Steve Wasko, co-chair of the Collaborative Public Engagement Committee. “Working together, we will chart a fresh path toward a new, fairer school funding system that provides all students with the support services necessary to prepare them for college and jobs.”

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: School funding group calls for new, fairer school funding system at educators dinner

ALPENA, Mich. — Michigan’s current school funding system fails to meet the needs of far too many students, and they will continue to fall behind without a new, fairer approach that meets their unique, individual learning needs, a representative of the School Finance Research Collaborative said at the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Board dinner in Alpena. The dinner was attended by local district school board members and superintendents within the intermediate school district.

“Michigan is in dire need of a new, fairer school funding system that addresses the wide-ranging needs of all students and provides the support services necessary to prepare them for college and careers,” said Steve Wasko, co-chair of the School Finance Research Collaborative Public Engagement Committee, who spoke at the Dec. 6 event at the Pied Piper Opportunity Center in Alpena. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to educating our kids, and with a new governor and Legislature taking office next month, now is the time for action.”

“With our children continuing to fall behind their peers in other states, it’s never been more clear that a new school funding system is needed that ensures all Michigan students, no matter their circumstances, have the same opportunity at getting a good education and competing for jobs,” said former state Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena, a School Finance Research Collaborative member and President and CEO of Michigan’s Children. “Under a fairer school funding system, we can provide all students with a 21st century education that provides them with in-demand skills for good-paying jobs.”

Earlier this year, the School Finance Research 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 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 final 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.

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: School Finance Research Collaborative receives 482Forward’s 2018 Ally of the Year award

DETROIT — The School Finance Research Collaborative on Saturday received 482Forward’s 2018 Ally of the Year award, given to proven allies for public education justice. Earlier this year, the School Finance Research 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.

“This year, we are recognizing the School Finance Research Collaborative for its incredible leadership in spearheading the work to win full and fair funding for all Michigan children,” said Jamila Martin, Director of Operations for 482Forward, a citywide education organizing network in Detroit. “Thanks to the Collaborative’s pioneering research, 482Forward and our partners around the state have been able to launch a campaign calling for legislators to implement the study’s clear recommendations for a new, fairer school funding system that serves the unique, individual learning needs of all students.”

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.

Dr. Randy Liepa, a School Finance Research Collaborative member and Wayne RESA Superintendent, accepted the 482Forward award on Saturday at a ceremony of about 150 parents, students, educators and community leaders at Marygrove College in Detroit.

482Forward is comprised of neighborhood organizations, parents and youth committed to ensuring all Detroit children have access to an excellent education, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status.

“We are very grateful to be honored by 482Foward, a key partner in our continued effort to educate policymakers, community stakeholders and the public at large about the need to fix Michigan’s broken school funding system to make it fair for all students, whether they are in Detroit, West Michigan, or the upper reaches of the western U.P.,” Liepa said. “Our work together will help ensure every student has the same opportunity to get a high-quality education and compete for the jobs of the future.”

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.

Read the full report here.

###

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

PRESS RELEASE: New statewide poll shows public support for reforming Michigan’s school finance system

LANSING, Mich. — A new poll commissioned by the School Finance Research Collaborative and performed by nationwide research company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, shows widespread support for changing the way we fund Michigan’s schools to make it fairer and meet the individual needs of all students.

“This important statewide survey shows that Michiganders of all political stripes agree the way we fund Michigan’s schools is unfair and needs to change,” said Dr. Wanda-Cook Robinson, School Finance Research Collaborative member and Oakland Schools superintendent. “Our new poll should be a wake-up call for policymakers on both sides of the aisle, and both current policymakers and those seeking elected office need to use the poll and the School Finance Research Collaborative study as a roadmap for a new, fairer school funding system.”

“It’s time for a new school funding system that meets the unique, individual needs of all students, whether they are enrolled in special education, live in poverty or attend school in geographically isolated areas,” said Dr. Michael F. Addonizio, School Finance Research Collaborative member and Professor of Education Policy Studies at Wayne State University. “This survey shows that voters across Michigan want us to replace Michigan’s current one-size-fits-all school funding system with a more individualized approach that serves all students, and the School Finance Research Collaborative study provides the building blocks to do that.”

“Our research also shows us that Michiganders want a new approach to school funding that helps prepare all students for successful careers – and not just those who go on to a four-year college,” said Matt Gillard, School Finance Research Collaborative member, and president and CEO of Michigan’s Children. “A new, fairer school funding system will ensure all students have the opportunity to go on to technical school or apprenticeships, as well as college, and get good-paying jobs right here in Michigan.”

The poll found that:

70 percent believe Michigan’s schools are underfunded
67 percent support a new school funding system that meets all students’ needs
63 percent believe Michigan’s current school funding system is unfair

Read a memo summary of the poll here.

Earlier this year, the School Finance Research 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 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 final 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.

Read the full report here.

###

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