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

 

Determining the Cost of Educating a Child

What does it cost to educate a child? These videos, released today, illustrate the School Finance Research Collaborative’s mission to find answers.

Learn more:

What Does it Cost to Educate a Child? (short version)

 

What Does it Cost to Educate a Child? (long version)

PRESS RELEASE: Longtime Flint community leader joins School Finance Research Collaborative

Isaiah Oliver, former Flint Community Schools Board of Education President, brings expertise in preparing students for bright futures to school funding group

FLINT Mich.Isaiah Oliver, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and former Flint Community Schools Board of Education President, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative, the school funding group announced today.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring the voice of the entire Flint community, including its most precious asset — Flint’s children — to the School Finance Research Collaborative as we take a long, hard look at how we fund Michigan’s public schools,” Oliver said. “It’s clear in Flint, and across the entire state that our current school funding system is failing our kids and must be fixed. We must consider the unique needs and challenges of students from all corners of the Mitten as we reexamine how we finance our schools to help all students achieve and succeed.”

Oliver, born and raised in Flint, helps residents, businesses and organizations contribute directly to Flint-area causes in greatest need at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Oliver was previously the foundation’s Vice President of Community Impact. He served five years on the Flint Community Schools Board of Education, including two years as board president, and four years on the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers. Oliver also has extensive experience in higher education, having served as Associate Administrator for Workforce, Community and Grant Development at Mott Community College.

“Having experienced first-hand the challenges Flint’s public school students face, Isaiah Oliver will bring an essential perspective to the School Finance Research Collaborative as we seek the best and most reliable information on what it truly costs to educate all students,” said Heather Morolla Kale, General Manager of the Ferris Wheel Innovation Center in Flint, and a Collaborative Advisory Committee member.

Oliver, a graduate of Flint Northwestern High School, earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University. He is immediate past president of the Flint Alumni Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and an active member of numerous other community organizations. He and his wife, Shay, live in Flint with their daughters, Zaiah, Carrington and Chelyn.

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 is bringing together top industry experts to determine the cost of providing a high-quality public school education to all Michigan students, regardless of their circumstances.

The Collaborative is supporting a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies which is now underway. The study, expected to be completed in early 2018, will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate all Michigan public school students.

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

PRESS RELEASE: SEMCOG hails work of School Finance Research Collaborative

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments report supports effort to reexamine how Michigan funds its public schools

DETROIT, Mich. — The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) today announced its support of the School Finance Research Collaborative’s efforts to reexamine how Michigan’s public schools are funded to best serve all students. SEMCOG, which represents Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, endorses the Collaborative’s work in its new report, Providing Quality Education for All Students: A Comprehensive Approach

“The support of SEMCOG, representing all of Southeast Michigan, is a major endorsement of the School Finance Research Collaborative’s mission to help all public school students achieve and succeed, regardless of their circumstances,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and Collaborative member. “This new report signals that key Southeast Michigan stakeholders recognize a top-notch public school education is essential to prepare all students for college and successful careers, and to continue Michigan’s economic comeback.”

The Collaborative, a broad-based and diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., is supporting a new school funding adequacy study. The study, which is now underway, is using multiple methodologies to determine the true cost of educating all students.

“In our study of Michigan’s public schools, it quickly became apparent that our current school funding system is broken and obsolete, and that we must return to the drawing board to prepare all students for the 21st century workforce,” said Donald Hubler, co-chairman of the SEMCOG Task Force. “The Collaborative will provide Michigan policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information needed to set all students on a path toward bright futures.”

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

PRESS RELEASE: Renowned student achievement expert joins School Finance Research Collaborative

Dr. Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research president, brings expertise in academic success research to school funding group

KALAMAZOO, Mich.Dr. Randall Eberts, President of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and a pioneer in student achievement analysis, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative, the Collaborative announced today.

“I look forward to lending my experience and expertise in securing the best, most comprehensive data on student achievement to the School Finance Research Collaborative,” Eberts said. “Over the past several years, it has become evident that the way we fund Michigan’s public schools is obsolete, and we must take a fresh approach so all students have the opportunity to succeed after graduation, whether that means college, technical training, apprenticeships or jobs.”

In his current role, Eberts studies factors that contribute to student academic achievement, as well as the effects of collective bargaining and education policy decisions on student performance. Before joining the Upjohn Institute in 1993, he was assistant vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Eberts was previously the senior staff economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He is a former associate professor of economics at the University of Oregon, and a former visiting professor at Texas A&M University.

“Through his research, Randall helps prepare all public school students to achieve and succeed, which is the biggest challenge we face in Michigan in the ever-evolving and global 21st century workforce,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan and a Collaborative member. “He has seen first-hand how we must have the very best and most reliable data to provide a high-quality public school education that prepares all students for bright futures.”

Eberts received his doctorate in economics from Northwestern University.

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 is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine the state’s approach to funding K-12 schools to ensure all Michigan public school students are fully prepared for college and careers.

The Collaborative is supporting a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies which is now underway. The study, expected to be completed in early 2018, will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate all Michigan public school students.

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

PRESS RELEASE: Renowned advocate for Detroit children joins School Finance Research Collaborative

Skillman Foundation CEO Tonya Allen brings experience serving city’s underserved students in taking a fresh look at public school funding

DETROIT, Mich.Tonya Allen, President and CEO of the Skillman Foundation and a recognized tireless advocate for Detroit and the city’s undeserved children, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative, the Collaborative announced today.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to bring the voice of Detroit’s children, particularly those facing economic, social and other hardships, to the School Finance Research Collaborative as we take a fresh look at how we fund Michigan’s public schools,” Allen said. “It’s clear in Detroit that the way we fund our schools is broken and must be revamped to serve students in all corners of the Mitten, regardless of their circumstances. It is critical that the voices of all Michigan students, from the inner cities to the suburbs, to our rural areas and the U.P., are heard as we reexamine how we fund our schools so all students can achieve and succeed.”

For two decades, Allen has led innovative, results-driven plans to improve her native Detroit and its public schools. At the Skillman Foundation, she has helped develop and design key education improvement strategies, including Excellent Schools Detroit, Michigan Future Schools and the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren. She was the driving force behind the 10-year, $100 million Good Neighborhoods Initiative, a program that works toward positive change in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Before joining the Skillman Foundation in 2004, Allen worked as a program officer for both the Charles Stewart Mott and Thompson-McCully foundations. She founded and was executive director of the Detroit Parent Network, an organization dedicated to improving educational options for children. Allen also led the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Rebuilding Communities Initiative in Detroit.

“Tonya Allen’s commitment and passion for the education of children speaks for itself and has for a long time,” said Jim Stapleton, Detroit area businessman, Regent Emeritus at Eastern Michigan University and a member of the Collaborative. “To have her lend her incredible reputation to our effort only speaks to the importance of the work we’re doing.”

Allen has received statewide and national recognition for her philanthropic work, including being named to the Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40 List” and receiving Rolling Stone Magazine’s Brick Award given to activists under age 30. She was named a Detroit News Michiganian of the Year in 2015, a Crain’s Detroit Business “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2015 and one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “5 Nonprofit Innovators to Watch” in 2013.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degrees in social work and public health, all from the University of Michigan.

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 is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine the state’s approach to funding K-12 schools to ensure all Michigan public school students are fully prepared for college and careers.

The Collaborative is supporting a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies which is now underway. The study, expected to be completed in early 2018, will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate all Michigan public school students.

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

PRESS RELEASE: Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce official, child advocate joins school funding group committee

Flint native Heather Morolla Kale brings business, child advocacy background to the School Finance Research Collaborative

FLINT, Mich.Heather Morolla Kale, a Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce official and longtime advocate for Genesee County children and families, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative Advisory Committee, the Collaborative announced today.

“Working with Flint’s most vulnerable young people, I’ve seen firsthand how a high-quality public school education makes all the difference in helping students of all backgrounds and challenges achieve and succeed,” said Kale, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Member Services, and a Flint native. “As a part of the Chamber’s leadership, I see the dire need to connect student talent with the demands businesses face across Michigan. I look forward to lending my experience and expertise in both arenas to the Collaborative Advisory Committee.”

Kale was previously director of The Carrera Program, a teen pregnancy prevention program. She was also Director of Communications and Outreach for Priority Children, an organization that advocates for the health and wellbeing of Genesee County children. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Gear Up 2 Lead and the YWCA of Greater Flint.

“Heather represents both ends of the talent attraction and retention spectrum – students in need of an education that prepares them for college and careers, and the business community that relies on our public schools to produce that talent,” said Doug Maibach, Chairman of the Barton Malow Enterprises Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of Barton Malow Co. “We are fortunate to have her on board to help us bridge that talent divide so all students are prepared for the competitive 21st century workforce.”

Kale has a master’s degree in public relations from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of Michigan-Flint.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based 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 is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine the state’s approach to funding K-12 schools to ensure all students are fully prepared for college and careers, from the inner cities to the suburbs, to rural areas and the U.P.

The Collaborative is supporting a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies which is now underway. The study will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate all Michigan public school students.

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

PRESS RELEASE: National education experts selected to reexamine how Michigan’s public schools are funded

Two nationally renowned firms join forces to take a fresh look at how we fund our schools to serve all students

LANSING, Mich. – Two nationally renowned firms have been selected to conduct a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive school funding study in Michigan that will examine how our state’s public schools are financed, the School Finance Research Collaborative announced today.

“We look forward to taking a fresh look at how Michigan funds its public schools so that all students, no matter their circumstances or challenges, can achieve and succeed in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Bob Palaich of Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA), the Colorado-based firm leading the study. “We are approaching this project without any political or preconceived notions to find out what it truly costs to provide a high-quality education to all Michigan public school students.”

APA is already familiar with Michigan’s school funding challenges: The firm conducted the taxpayer-funded Michigan Education Finance Study of 2016, on which the new study will build. California-based Picus, Odden & Associates (POA), will also play a key role in the research.

Working together, the two firms will conduct a school funding adequacy study. Adequacy studies help determine what it costs to educate all students, with adjustments made for students with special needs and school districts with unique challenges. The two firms have the most extensive experience nationally in conducting adequacy studies and assisting policymakers to refine their funding systems. Further, two of the four commonly used methodologies for adequacy studies were developed by APA and POA.

The new study is expected to be completed by January of 2018, and will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on the true costs of educating all Michigan public school students.

The new study will use multiple methodologies to examine how Michigan’s schools are funded, something that has never been done in the Great Lakes State. From 2003 to 2014, 25 states conducted adequacy studies. In 23 of the 25 states, multiple methodologies were used.

The new study will use the following methodologies:

Professional Judgment method: Top education experts identify human resources and operating expenses needed to ensure all students can meet all state standards.

Evidence-Based method: Academic research on student performance is used to identify needed resources to meet all state standards.

The report will incorporate findings of the state’s taxpayer-funded study. The Michigan Education Finance Study used the Successful School Districts method, which determines adequacy by examining the level of resources available to districts currently meeting certain performance standards.

The research team will create 19 panels made up of 220 Michigan education experts to inform their work. The panels will include a diverse range of educators, including teachers, specialists, principals, superintendents and special education directors, and experts in the following areas: technology, career and technical education, English Language Learners and early childhood education.

There will be a special panel on charter schools, the first time for a statewide study. The researchers will also establish special panels on poverty; preschool; small, medium and large school districts; and geographically isolated districts. Additional panels will focus on special needs students including English language learners, at-risk students, career and technical education.

The new statewide study is being initially funded by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made to the Oakland Schools Education Foundation.

The School Finance Research Collaborative, a diverse, broad-based group of business and education experts from all corners of Michigan, is directing the study. The Collaborative selected the team of APA and POA, the two top school finance research firms in the country, to examine the state’s approach to funding K-12 schools to ensure all students are fully prepared for college and careers, from the inner cities to the suburbs, to rural areas and the U.P.

“We are truly fortunate to have two of the most experienced school funding research firms in the country on board for this landmark, comprehensive research effort in Michigan,” said Dr. Michael Addonizio, Professor of Education Policy Studies at Wayne State University and a Collaborative member. “As a career educator, I am excited to see the research team’s expertise and experience put into action as we reexamine school funding to benefit all Michigan students.”

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