News Bite

Unfair Playing Field? Flint Schools Get 50% More Than Average

State’s Civil Rights Commission joins the interests promoting the underfunded narrative

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission released a Sept. 30 report that bemoaned what it characterized as “inequities” and an “unfair playing field” in the state’s education system.

Comprised of eight political appointees, the commission says its 2016 investigation of the Flint water crisis found that Michigan’s public school funding structure leaves communities like Flint underserved.

“During that review, we saw the roots and continuing existence of educational inequities in Flint’s K-12 school system,” the current report states.

In 2016-17, the Flint public school district’s general fund received $20,166 per pupil, which was more than twice the $9,910 per pupil collected and spent by the average Michigan public school district. The figures include money provided by local, state and federal taxpayers, and are found in a regularly updated state of Michigan database.

The very large funding disparity in favor of the Flint school district in 2016 was due to extra money directed there as part of the response to the Flint water crisis, according to the Michigan Department of Education. In most years Flint school funding is about 50% above the state average.

For example, in 2017-18, Flint’s public school district received $15,006 per pupil, compared to the state average of $10,190 that year.

And in 2018-19, Flint’s per-pupil funding was $15,908. By comparison, Grand Blanc Community Schools district, which is nine miles from Flint, received $9,886 per pupil.

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.