You may know that Michigan schools are facing a funding crisis because of COVID-19, but could you explain why? If you're still trying to wrap your head around Michigan's school finance system and what the current situation will mean for schools, you're not alone. Fortunately, some of the talented communications and business gurus at Kent ISD collaborated on an excellent series of videos they are calling School Finance for You, which are intended to help increase awareness of how schools are funded in Michigan.
These videos are more than just a good information source for educators trying to understand the current situation. They explain the basics of Michigan's school funding system, how local districts spend their money, and where school revenue comes from in addition to reviewing how the pandemic is affecting school funding. And they are produced for a general audience, so you can share them with your parent and community groups, show them during a school board meeting, and generally help inform the greater community going forward.
Kent ISD's School Finance For You Video Series
- Video #1: How Michigan Schools are Funded
- Video #2: How Schools Spend their Resources
- Video #3: Where Tax Dollars for Education Come From
- Video #4: How COVID-19 Impacts School Funding
If you're looking for it, MASSP also previously produced a short video called COVID-19 Budget Basics which covers some of the same topics, though that video is aimed more at a school audience.
Understanding the impact that a $700 per pupil funding reduction would have on schools is only the first step. Lawmakers need to understand that trying to cut our way out of this budget shortfall would profoundly hurt students and schools. And Michigan students and schools need Congress to provide financial support because the State of Michigan can't do this on its own, even if we raised taxes.
So sign our petition, and help us tell Congress to:
- Replenish and enhance the Education Stabilization Fund for preK-12 education with at least $175 billion and
- Ensure Michigan receives at least $3.5 billion to address the financial challenges facing PreK-12 and higher education in the next two years.
During these difficult times, our students need the support and safety of schools more than ever. And our communities, our families, and and our businesses need schools to be fully and safely open in order to recover. That means schools need additional resources—not reductions.