Despite Fewer Students, Michigan School Funding Going Up, Up, Up
Schools will receive more than half a billion dollars more from the state and federal government alone this year
The Michigan Department of Education will make its quarterly presentation on the number of school districts in deficit to the state legislature Dec. 12.
But perhaps lost in the discussion about funding is that the state and federal government have budgeted $563 million more dollars for public school K-12 education in Michigan in 2013-14 than last year despite a drop of 6,100 students.
The state's School Aid Budget, which funds K-12 education, increased from $12.9 billion in 2012-13 to $13.4 billion in 2013-14. Federal dollars jumped from $1.701 billion last year to $1.764 billion in 2013-14.
However, student enrollment over the last year in public schools dropped from 1,536,600 students to 1,530,500.
"They are actually getting more money and there are fewer kids in the program," said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "You can argue they are not getting as much as they want, but you cannot say that taxpayers are spending fewer dollars on K-12 education."
However, many school union officials and others will complain that school funding has been cut and that more money needs to be spent regardless of student enrollment counts or student achievement.
There were a number of districts that didn't submit financial information to the state by Nov. 15, said Glenda Rader, spokeswoman for the Office of State Aid and School Finance. Rader said the final numbers will be ready by the time Superintendent Mike Flanagan makes his quarterly presentation to the Legislature Dec. 12.
Flanagan told the legislature in September that unaudited figures showed there were 56 school districts with deficits.
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.