News Story

Charter Schools Targeted By Veto To Protest At Governor’s Detroit Office

Regular district schools get raise but not charters, which have more poor and minorities

Vista Charter Academy in Grand Rapids has received an A on the latest report card from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which adjusts scores to reflect the challenges faced by students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

As is true with most charter schools, the vast majority of the families who choose to enroll their children at Vista Charter Academy received some type of government social service benefits, and so are considered “economically disadvantaged.” Specifically, 94% of Vista’s 702 students were economically disadvantaged, and just 7% of the student body is white.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently used her veto power to eliminate a $240-per-pupil funding increase for Michigan’s public charter schools, which was authorized in the annual school aid budget approved by the Legislature. Conventional public schools, by contrast, were not affected by the veto and will receive the $240-per-pupil increase.

Vista Charter Academy is one of many high-performing charter schools across Michigan, which often serve predominantly poor, minority students. On average, 75% of the students enrolled in Michigan charter schools were economically disadvantaged, compared to 47% of those enrolled in regular school district schools.

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies will hold a press conference outside Whitmer’s Detroit office on Monday. That is the first day the public charter schools feel the disparate impact of receiving less in state aid payments than situated district schools.

Buddy Moorehouse, spokesman for the association, said that legislative Republicans are expected to introduce bills to give charter schools the same per-pupil funding increase as district schools this year.

“The mechanisms are in place (to restore the funding),” Moorehouse said in an email.