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.


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