- A new poll of 600 Michigan residents conducted in June reveals that 63% believe state schools are not funded fairly and 70% believe they are underfunded, Chalkbeat reports.
- The poll was conducted by the School Finance Research Collaborative, a prominent group of Michigan educators, policymakers and business leaders who have called for major changes to the way schools are funded.
- The collaborative also published a report in January that recommended major changes to school funding, calling for the state to change its funding formula to provide additional support for English language learners and for students living in poverty or facing other challenges.
School funding is a complex issue and one that varies greatly from state to state. According to a report conducted by the Education Law Center on behalf of the state of Pennsylvania, most states use data-driven, cost-based education funding formulas that “use accurate student data, account for differences among school districts, direct funding to address those differences, and do so with a goal of ensuring all students have adequate funding to meet state standards.”
According to a 2012 Report on the “Progress of Education Reform” published by the Education Commission of the States, “States fund public education either by 1) providing a school district/charter school with a set amount of funding per pupil or 2) by funding a number of positions (teachers, principals, counselors, librarians, etc.) per school. A study of school funding systems by ECS found that 42 states fund schools based on dollar amounts per pupil while seven states make use of systems that fund based on the number of positions. (The state of Hawaii operates as a single school district so it does not require a funding system that distributes dollars to school districts.)”
With a stronger focus now on equity, many states are now being challenged for perceptions of faulty funding models or for underfunding education altogether. Some of these states include Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Connecticut, and Idaho, in addition to Michigan.