News Story

Group Wants Schools Serving Low-Income Students To Get More — But That’s Already Happening

A big pot of state and federal dollars is set aside for districts whose families have less

A group called Education Trust-Midwest, plus a number of business executives, civil rights groups and municipal officials, have a new campaign they call “Opportunity for All.” It will lobby for increased spending on public schools, and direct more of the money to districts serving more students from low income households.

The goal is to prioritize school funding to help low-income students.

However, in Michigan, school funding already favors districts with more low-income students.

For example, the state of Michigan will distribute an additional $350.8 million in federal money to school districts due to COVID-19.

Benton Harbor Area Schools in Berrien County will receive $3.2 million in that federal COVID-19 money. That’s $1,672 per pupil, based on 2018-19 enrollment. Benton Harbor has 47% of its residents living in poverty.

DeWitt Township has just 9% of its residents in poverty. DeWitt Public Schools in Clinton County received $52,686 in the federal coronavirus money. That’s $16.48 per pupil based on DeWitt Public Schools’ 2018-19 enrollment.

The discrepancy between schools exists because the government favors districts with more low-income students.

And that plays out with overall school funding also.

DeWitt Public Schools received $9,397 per pupil in 2018-19, according to the Michigan Department of Education. That included local, state and federal funding. By comparison, Benton Harbor Area Schools received $14,740 per pupil. The state average was $10,487 per pupil.