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.

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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.

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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.

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

PRESS RELEASE: U.P. school administrators learn about need for new, fairer school funding system

ESCANABA, Mich. — It’s high time for a new, fairer school funding system that meets the unique needs of all students and prepares them for successful careers, regardless of where they attend school, representatives of the School Finance Research Collaborative said at this week’s 2018 U.P. Administrators’ Academy in Escanaba. The U.P. Administrators’ Academy brings school superintendents and administrators together to explore current issues in school administration and leadership.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to educating our kids, and a new, fairer school funding system is needed that addresses the needs of all students, whether they attend school here in the U.P., West Michigan, Southeast Michigan or the Thumb,” said Dr. Dan Reattoir, a School Finance Research Collaborative member and superintendent of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District. “By funding our schools fairly, we can ensure all students, regardless of their circumstances, go on to college, technical school or an apprenticeship program and get good-paying jobs here in Michigan.”

“The way we fund Michigan’s schools is broken, and without a new, fairer school funding system, our students will only continue to fall behind in an increasingly competitive economy that demands a skilled workforce,” said Ron Koehler, co-chairman of the School Finance Research Collaborative Public Education Committee. “All students must be prepared for the real world and have an opportunity at successful careers, not just those who go to a four-year college.”

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.

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

PRESS RELEASE: $50,000 grant from Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will help shine a spotlight on the need for school finance reforms

LANSING — Efforts to build support for a school finance system that helps all Michigan students succeed in the classroom and beyond have received an important boost, thanks to a one-year, $50,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for the School Finance Research Project.

The project, an initiative of the School Finance Research Collaborative, has produced Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study and a roadmap to fixing Michigan’s broken school funding system. 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 Mott Foundation grant to the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, which is the project’s fiscal sponsor, is helping to fund a statewide campaign highlighting the need for a school finance system that supports success for all Michigan children.

“We greatly appreciate the Mott Foundation’s continued support of our effort to reexamine Michigan’s school funding system to address the wide-ranging, individual needs of all students, regardless of income, learning challenges or other circumstances,” said Bob Moore, School Finance Research Project Director. “With the foundation’s support, our Public Education Committee will educate candidates for office, policymakers, key stakeholders and the public at large about this first-of-its-kind, student-centered research.”

The Mott Foundation previously awarded a $100,000 grant for the School Finance Research Project in November of 2017. Mott is one of several nonprofits and foundations, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Skillman Foundation, that have contributed to the Collaborative’s school adequacy study, which determined the true cost of educating a child to Michigan’s academic standards. The study has provided policymakers with the building blocks for a new school funding system that serves the unique needs of all students. Total project funding is now approximately $1.2 million.

“The Mott Foundation is pleased to continue to provide support for the School Finance Research Project,” said Neal Hegarty, the Mott Foundation’s vice president of programs. “The first phase of the project yielded important data and included recommendations for improvements to the school funding system. We are hopeful that the next phase of the project will help move towards actions that will improve educational outcomes for all children in Michigan’s public schools.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative study, completed in January of this year, was conducted by the nation’s top two school finance research firms and informed by nearly 300 Michigan educators from across the state. 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.

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

 

PRESS RELEASE: The School Finance Research Project receives $200,000 award toward effort to reexamine school funding

LANSING — The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded a $200,000 grant to support the School Finance Research Project, which has produced Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study and a roadmap to fixing Michigan’s broken school funding system. The project is an initiative of the School Finance Research Collaborative, 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.

“We greatly appreciate the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s continued support of our effort to reexamine Michigan’s school funding system to serve the needs of all students, regardless of zip code, income, race, learning challenges or other circumstances,” said Bob Moore, School Finance Research Project Director. “With the foundation’s support, we will continue to educate candidates for office, policymakers, key stakeholders and the public at large about this first-of-its-kind, student-centered research.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative’s study determined the true cost of educating a child to Michigan’s academic standards, and provided policymakers with the building blocks for a new school funding system that serves the unique needs of all students. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Mott Foundation and the Skillman Foundation also provided initial funding for the School Finance Research Project. Total project funding is now approximately $1.2 million.

“The School Finance Research Collaborative’s call for a new school funding system that serves the wide-ranging needs of all students directly aligns with our belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive,” said Regina Bell, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Program Officer. “Our foundation works with communities to create conditions that help vulnerable children realize their full potential in school, work and life, and the Collaborative’s continued efforts will help us achieve those goals.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative study, completed in January of this year, was conducted by the nation’s top two school finance research firms and informed by nearly 300 Michigan educators from across the state. 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 and students living in poverty.

The study concluded that Michigan’s school funding system also must take into account district size, districts in geographically isolated areas, and differing transportation costs. Read the full report here.

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

PRESS RELEASE: School Finance Research Collaborative announces findings of comprehensive school funding study

LANSING — Top business and education experts today revealed the results from a comprehensive statewide study examining school funding in Michigan – an analysis that clearly demonstrates the need to reform Michigan’s school funding system. The School Finance Research Collaborative brought together the nation’s two leading school funding research firms to develop the report, which provides the most complete data available on school funding and gives policymakers the building blocks to reform the school funding system in Michigan.

“This comprehensive report reflects the input of nearly 300 educators throughout Michigan, giving policymakers clear direction on how much it costs to educate a child and how best to reform Michigan’s broken school funding system,” said Bob Moore, School Finance Research Project Director. “The leaders who came together to create the School Finance Research Collaborative are proud to have supported a comprehensive analysis of what it costs to educate every child, regardless of zip code or circumstance, and we hope policymakers will use it as a roadmap to take action on behalf of Michigan’s students.”

“Regardless of whether a child attends a traditional public or charter school, they deserve the best possible education, and that starts with establishing a school funding program that’s data-driven and works for all students,” said Mary Kay Shields, president of CS Partners. “The new report released today by the School Finance Research Collaborative is comprehensive in its analysis of funding needs at charter and traditional public schools, and it can be a tremendous resource for policymakers.”

Launched in 2016, the Collaborative brought together business leaders, education experts, leaders from traditional public and charter schools throughout Michigan and top consultants in the education field. Working together, the collaborative oversaw the completion of a new, comprehensive school adequacy study that provides a new framework for funding Michigan’s schools to prepare all students for success in the classroom and beyond.

The base per-pupil cost to educate a regular education K-12 student in Michigan is $9,590, which does not include transportation, food service or capital costs, and only includes pension costs at 4.6% of wages.

Charter and traditional public schools should be funded equally.

It costs $14,155 to educate a preschool student age 3 or 4.

In addition to the base per-pupil cost, a percentage of the base cost should be provided for special education, English Language Learners, students living in poverty and programs to provide Career and Technical Education.

Transportation costs should be funded at $973 per rider until further study can be carried out.

Because Michigan’s school district sizes vary widely and small districts lack economies of scale, district size must be taken into account, with funding increases provided for all districts under 7,500 students.
The full Collaborative report is available at fundMIschools.org.

Collaborative leaders emphasized additional research will also be needed in several areas, including a full capital study to examine the costs of charter and traditional public schools; a review of literate and illiterate poverty, and concentration of poverty by district; and a full transportation costs study.

“Reforming our broken school funding system isn’t a partisan issue, and a comprehensive, data-driven look at how we fund traditional public and charter schools in our state is long overdue,” said Rick Johnson, former Michigan House Speaker. “This new study provides a robust and comprehensive look at school funding and gives policymakers real building blocks for a new school funding system. I encourage our policymakers, Republican and Democrat, to use this study to inform the future of Michigan’s school funding system.”

“This report reflects the best available data, research and input on Michigan’s school funding system, and I’m hopeful the results of this comprehensive study will spark action from policymakers,” said Matt Gillard, president and CEO of Michigan’s Children. “The fact is, our current school funding system is broken. It’s time for reform – and this new report provides clear building blocks for Michigan’s policymakers to get down to work on reform.”

The Collaborative is funded by the W.K. Kellogg, Charles Stewart Mott and Skillman foundations, more than 22 Michigan ISDs and nonprofit organizations statewide.

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

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PRESS RELEASE: Skillman Foundation awards $50,000 grant toward effort to reexamine school funding

DETROIT, Mich. — The Skillman Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the School Finance Research Project, an effort to help determine the true cost of educating a student in Michigan, regardless of income, location or other circumstances. The project is an initiative of the School Finance Research Collaborative, a statewide, bipartisan and diverse group of business leaders and education experts who agree it’s time to reexamine how we fund Michigan’s public schools.

“Michigan used to be a national leader in education. Now we’re at the bottom,” said Tonya Allen, President and CEO of the Skillman Foundation and a Collaborative member. “Reexamining how our state’s public schools are funded is crucial to ensuring that our children are prepared to succeed and lead. There is no greater investment we could make for our state, and for our nation, than to develop a smart and innovative citizenry.”

The Skillman Foundation grant will support the Collaborative’s school adequacy study, now underway, which will help determine the cost of providing a quality education to all Michigan public school students. Adequacy studies often include geographic cost differences, labor cost differences, and analysis of geographic isolation, among other factors.

The School Finance Research Collaborative’s study, expected in early 2018, is being conducted by the nation’s top two school finance research firms, and will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on the true cost of educating all Michigan students. The new study is utilizing multiple methodologies to reexamine how Michigan’s schools are funded.

Michigan joins more than 30 other states that have conducted comprehensive adequacy studies over the past 15 years, many conducting multiple studies.

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

PRESS RELEASE: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awards $100,000 grant to study school funding in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, the fiscal sponsor for the School Finance Research Project. The project, currently underway, will help determine the true cost of educating a student in Michigan, regardless of income, location or other circumstances.

The project is an initiative of the School Finance Research Collaborative, a bipartisan and diverse group of business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P. who are leading efforts to reexamine school funding in the state.

“This generous grant from the Mott Foundation will help us explore how we can fund our schools so all students can achieve and succeed,” said Isaiah Oliver, a Collaborative member and president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. “It demonstrates that key Genesee County stakeholders recognize a top-notch K-12 education is essential to prepare all students for the competitive 21st century workforce.”

“The Collaborative’s efforts will provide evidence to inform policies that will help prepare all students for bright futures, whether that means college, technical training, apprenticeships or jobs right after graduation,” said Neal Hegarty, the Mott Foundation’s vice president of programs.

Mott is one of several nonprofits and foundations, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, that have contributed to the Collaborative’s school adequacy study. Adequacy studies determine the cost of providing a quality education to all students, and often include geographic cost differences, labor cost differences, and analysis of geographic isolation, among other factors.

The Collaborative’s study, expected in early 2018, is being conducted by the nation’s top two school finance research firms, and will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on the true cost of educating all Michigan public school students. The new study is utilizing multiple methodologies to reexamine how Michigan’s schools are funded.

Michigan joins more than 30 other states that have conducted comprehensive school adequacy studies over the past 15 years, many conducting multiple studies.

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

PRESS RELEASE: Videos released calling for fresh approach to funding Michigan’s public schools

School Finance Research Collaborative videos ask: ‘What does it cost to educate a child?’

LANSING, Mich. — What does it cost to educate a child? Two new videos released this week explain the School Finance Research Collaborative’s mission to find out. The Collaborative is supporting Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study, expected in early 2018, that will help determine the true cost of providing a high-quality public school education to all students.

“As the videos point out, we don’t know the cost of educating a public school student in Michigan, and that’s why our group of business leaders and education experts is determined to find out,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and a Collaborative member. “Our study will help determine how we can rethink our approach so all students, no matter their circumstances, can achieve and succeed.”

“We must know what it costs to educate a student in Michigan to prepare our kids for jobs and success,” said Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan president and CEO. “The videos make the Collaborative’s mission clear: To reexamine how we finance our schools so each and every one of our students is prepared for the 21st century workforce, whether that means college, apprenticeships, technical training or jobs right after graduation.”

The new school adequacy study is being conducted by the nation’s top two school finance research firms, and will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on the true cost of educating all Michigan public school students.

The new study is using multiple methodologies to reexamine how Michigan’s schools are funded, something that has never been done in a comprehensive way in the Great Lakes State. More than 30 states have conducted adequacy studies over the past 15 years, many conducting multiple studies.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based and diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, 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’s videos can be viewed here: /determining-cost-educating-child.

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