Michigan’s K-12 public schools received more dollars per student last year than any time during the previous 18 years, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Department of Education.

The figures refer to funding for day-to-day operations, not revenue from property taxes dedicated to repaying debt on buildings and capital improvements.

The information is compiled in an annual report, "Bulletin 1014," that shows the average school district received $9,457 for operations in the 2014-15 school year. That's the highest level since the state began posting this information in the 1997-98 school year.

The MDE report tracks local, state and federal dollars dedicated to each school district’s general fund, which is used for regular expenses like teacher salaries, classroom supplies and administration.

The state’s share of this funding has increased over the last five years to a record $7,127 per pupil; in the 2009-10 school year, it was $6,191 per student. If inflation is factored in, that $6,191 in 2009-10 increases to $6,729 for 2014-15.

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In contrast, the federal share has fallen significantly since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as President Obama’s stimulus program, which flooded public schools with billions of dollars. In Michigan, federal dollars accounted for $905 and $971 per pupil for general fund spending in 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively. In the last two school years, however, the level of federal funding has dropped to an average of $513 per-pupil.

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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