News Bite

With Federal Aid, Detroit Schools To Get Nearly Double Its Last Budget

Law gives great latitude in how it gets spent

If Congress adopts the current version of a federal COVID relief bill, it would mean the Detroit Public Schools Community District will receive at least an extra $1.36 billion from the three relief bills passed by Congress in 2020 and 2021.

To put that figure context, in the 2018-19 school year, the district’s total revenue from all sources was $728.4 million. This year, the district could get in excess of $600 million more in federal dollars than its entire budget a year ago.

That estimate for extra school funding in the pending legislation is based on the same formula used in the previous two federal relief bills.

All told, the three federal spending packages could add up to an additional $28,515 for each student enrolled in the Detroit district as of last October. That would be almost double the $14,744 per pupil in general fund dollars it received in 2018-19, which includes local, state and federal money.

Detroit’s public school district already received an extra $98.9 million from the federal CARES Act, enacted last March. It is slated to take in at least $361.7 million from the more recent aid bill, called the CRRSA Act.

The federal aid bills have given schools great latitude in how to spend the money. According to the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, one of the main provisions offered 15 different ways a district could spend the money.


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.