Leaders from Michigan’s largest school districts today praised Governor Rick’s Snyder’s initial budget recommendation to significantly increase the state’s per-pupil allowance for K-12 schools, but remains concerned about this year’s lack of continued investment in economically disadvantaged students.
“It’s commendable to see Governor Snyder increase the state’s per-pupil allowance significantly, but in past years he also has followed recommendations in school funding studies that call for increased dollars for economically disadvantaged students,” said Ray Telman, Executive Director of the Middle Cities Education Association. “For the last few years, we’ve taken steps in the right direction, but now that critical priority has not been included.”
Governor Snyder proposed a per-pupil K-12 funding increase of $120 to $240 per pupil for next year, depending on the district, which would amount to a $312 million overall boost.
Telman said in the last few budget recommendations, Republicans and Democrats alike also came together and, despite many competing priorities in an era of austerity, included considerably more funding for economically disadvantaged students across Michigan, dedicating an additional $120 million to the effort last year, as an example.
In the past, Governor Snyder’s recommendations followed the state’s own 2016 Michigan Education Finance Study’s recommendations to provide additional resources to districts that have a high proportion of economically disadvantaged children. Children living in poverty face critical obstacles that prevent them from keeping up with their peers, academically. Nearly one-half of all school-aged children in Michigan live in poverty.
“It’s early in the budget process and we remain hopeful that the Governor and the State Legislature will follow the recommendations of this and other school funding reports to fund economically disadvantaged students at a higher proportion,” Telman said. “It’s the best strategy toward making improvements across the board in education.”
The Middle Cities Education Association is a consortium of more than 27 urban school districts in Michigan, which was formed out of a shared commitment to improving educational opportunities for the urban learner. The unique mission and emphasis of Middle Cities is to serve as an advocate for member districts to ensure quality educational programs for all students.