News Story

Detroit Schools Enroll More Low Income Students, Get More Money

Despite richer tax base, Grosse Pointe schools get less per student than Detroit

At the Detroit Public Schools Community District, 85.88% of the 50,176 students are considered economically disadvantaged, which means their school district receives additional funding from the state and federal government. The percentage of disadvantaged students is far above the statewide public school average of 50.2% of students.

State money for students considered to be “at risk” gave the district an extra $619 for every student, for a total of $30.86 million in 2018-19. That money came on top of the regular per-pupil foundation allowance of $7,906 for each student enrolled.

Detroit schools also gets extra federal money to help teach its at-risk students. One source is called the Title I Part A grant, and in 2018-19, the Detroit Public Schools Community District received $104.3 million from it. That’s an additional $2,078 per pupil for the district. By comparison, Grosse Pointe Public Schools has a far more affluent student body (only 18.81% of its students are economically disadvantaged) and it received just $448,054 from the same grant program.

These subsidies for schools with more low-income students are a major reason why the Detroit district received more funding per pupil, overall, than the Grosse Pointe district did, even with the latter’s much richer property tax base and collections. (The numbers used in this comparison are from the 2017-18 school year, the most recent year for which the Michigan Department of Education has figures with all funding sources.)

Detroit received total funding of $13,841 per pupil, compared to Grosse Pointe’s $13,459 per pupil, counting local, state and federal dollars. The statewide average for school districts was $10,190 per pupil in 2017-18.