Utica Community Schools supports comprehensive study on the cost of educating Michigan students
Utica Community Schools supports comprehensive study on the cost of educating Michigan students
Posted on 01/11/2018
Banner that reads: What is the Cost to Education a Child?

Utica Community Schools has added its support to a statewide study aimed at changing the way Michigan schools are funded by state lawmakers.

The Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to support the work of the School Finance Research Collaborative – a bipartisan group of 22 top industry and education experts that is re-examining the approach to school funding in Michigan.

“The Collaborative addresses a question that our district has been asking for many years – what is the real cost of educating a child in Michigan,” said UCS Board of Education President Gene Klida. “It is time for state lawmakers to recognize that the current funding system is broken and to support a funding system that recognizes each Michigan child has unique needs and interests.”

The resolution adopted by the Board of Education at its January 8 meeting notes:

  • The study group is working with “the nation’s top two school finance research firms which have a proven ability to examine cost issues associated with key factors, including preschool, poverty, special education, Career and Technical Education, English Language Learners, at-risk students and schools that are geographically isolated.”
  • The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based, diverse and bipartisan group of statewide business and education experts.
  • The initiative is the first comprehensive school finance study that uses multiple data sources to determine the cost of educating a student in Michigan.
  • The group’s report will be the first statewide study that includes costs faced by charter schools.

Under the current school funding system, the state of Michigan collects property and other taxes to support the school aid fund and redistributes these dollars to Michigan school districts.

State lawmakers establish revenue levels for local school districts by setting a per-pupil foundation allowance. 

“We have a funding system that is built on the premise that every child is the same. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said UCS Board Trustee Denyeal Nesovski. “The fact that our funding system does not appreciate the unique nature of every child is a disservice to Michigan families, particularly those with students who have disabilities.”

“The Cost to Educate a Child” was the focus of a recent effort in UCS to address the fiscal challenges faced by its community through the current funding formula.

Information on the impact of the current school funding on UCS and letters from community and business groups to state lawmakers is available at: www.uticak12.org/funding.

More information on the School Finance Research Collaborative is available at: http://www.fundmischools.org/. The study group is scheduled to issue its report in early 2018.