COVID-19 relief bill another missed opportunity by policymakers to fix Michigan’s broken school funding approach
LANSING, Mich. — The following are statements from the School Finance Research Collaborative reacting to the Legislature passing a bill that fails to allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds to serve the unique, individual needs of Michigan’s K-12 students:
“Any additional school funding cuts could hamper a safe return to school and likely exacerbate the growing inequities in our schools, disproportionately affecting students with the greatest hurdles to learning,” said Dr. Randy Liepa, Wayne RESA superintendent. “From the digital divide to schools struggling to serve the needs of special education students, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the glaring disparities already in place in our broken school funding approach. As Michigan’s schools reopen, students will only continue falling further behind without a new school funding approach that helps them achieve and succeed.”
“It’s never been more important to follow the findings of the School Finance Research Collaborative study,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent. “A weighted school funding approach that serves all students, including those enrolled in special education, English Language Learners and students living in poverty, is essential to making sure all kids get a world-class education, regardless of their zip code. Our policymakers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to follow the SFRC’s research and make a long overdue investment in our public schools that helps prepare students for in-demand jobs, including careers in the skilled trades.”
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.
In 2018, the Collaborative completed Michigan’s first comprehensive school adequacy study that determined the true cost of educating all students, no matter their circumstances. 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 and students living in poverty.
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