News Story

Education Nonprofit Repeats, Again, Unsupported Claim About School Funding

It claims poor and minority schools in Michigan get less, when they actually get more

The Detroit Free Press and two education-focused nonprofits have announced they will hold a forum, which they call a “virtual conversation,” on Dec. 7 to discuss the significance of the 2020 election for Michigan’s school system.

“This conversation comes amid growing calls for lawmakers to address equity issues in Michigan schools,” a press release from The Education Trust-Midwest states.

Democratic Party politicians, some public policy nonprofits and mainstream media outlets say that fewer taxpayer dollars go to schools in Michigan’s poor and minority communities in Michigan, compared to those in other communities.

For example, Mary Grech, senior data and policy analyst for The Education Trust-Midwest, made a claim in October that “Michigan allocates fewer dollars on average to Michigan’s poorest school districts compared to the state’s wealthiest school districts.”

School finance data regularly collected and published by the state does not appear to support this statement. The Detroit Public Schools Community District received $15,891 per pupil (including local, state and federal money) in 2018-19 (the most recent full-year data available). This makes it the 15th-highest in funding among Michigan school districts that enroll 1,000 or more students. (The numbers come from the National Public Education Finance Survey.)

Many other poor communities have school districts that receive funding above the state average.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.