Dear candidate,

Congratulations on your recent win in the August primary! As a candidate seeking office, you probably are aware that education is a leading issue among voters from all walks of life, demographics and political backgrounds.

We wanted to let you know that the School Finance Research Collaborative can be a resource for you and help you formulate your education platform in the days ahead.

Who is the Collaborative?

  • 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 School Finance Research Collaborative has completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study, providing a roadmap to fixing Michigan’s broken school funding system and making it fair for all students.
  • The School Finance Research Collaborative study has determined the true cost of educating all students to make the way we fund schools more fair.

What did the study find?

  • The base per-pupil cost to educate a regular education K-12 student in Michigan is $9,590.
  • 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.
  • It costs $14,155 to educate a preschool student age 3 or 4.
  • Transportation costs should be funded at $731 per rider until further study can be carried out.
  • District size must be taken into account, with funding increases provided for all districts under 7,500 students.

Where do we go from here?

The School Finance Research Collaborative has provided policymakers with the roadmap for a new, fairer school funding system that addresses the wide-ranging needs of all students.

Please read the study in its entirety.

We are also scheduling a series of candidate trainings and forums around the important issue of school funding to deepen your understanding of the Collaborative’s important work and hear from experts who can talk about these complex, yet crucial issues.

In addition, the School Finance Research Collaborative has announced results of a statewide poll on important school funding issues. Read a summary of the poll findings here. The poll, commissioned by the School Finance Research Collaborative, shows the following things:

  • 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.

There’s never been a more important time to address school financing. We hope you will embrace the findings of the Collaborative and use them to shape your education platform. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to schedule an in-person meeting  or briefing on education issues.

Best of luck to you in the weeks ahead!


Steve Wasko                                                                  Ron Koehler

Public Education Committee co-chair                      Public Education Committee co-chair

PowerPoint presentation for candidates (click image to view)

Polling memo (click image to view)

Detroit Free Press: Report: Fund charter schools equally, boost funding for all Michigan schools (click image to view)

When it comes to education, one size doesn’t fit all (click image to view)

Candidate Toolkit

Candidate messaging guide (click image to view)

School Finance Research Collaborative study fact sheet (click image to view)

AP: Study: Overhaul is needed of how Michigan funds schools (click image to view)

MLive: More money is need to boost Michigan student achievement (click image to view)

Polling press release (click image to view)School Finance Research Collaborative

WXYZ: Study finds Michigan schools are underfunded (click image to view)School Finance Research Collaborative

Detroit Free Press: Poll: Likely Michigan voters support giving schools more of this (click image to view)School Finance Research Collaborative

Detroit News: Opinion: School improvement requires investment (click image to view)School Finance Research Collaborative