One of the hallmark advocacy policies for the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance has been the push to close the funding equity gap in per pupil funding school districts around the state receive in the state budget.
Historically, the Alliance has advocated for the 2x formula – where school districts receiving the minimum per pupil allowance would receive two times the amount of increase as school districts receiving the maximum allowance. For example, an increase of $20 dollars for districts receiving the maximum would mean a $40 increase for districts with the minimum allowance. The policy behind it is to close the gap between the minimum and maximum districts.
Currently, the minimum districts receive $7,511 per pupil, while the maximum districts receive $8,229 per pupil – a gap of $718.
In his FY 2017-18 budget recommendation, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called for an allowance increase using the 2x formula – $50 increase for maximum, $100 increase for minimum. (Gap: $668)
The Senate K-12 appropriations subcommittee also agreed to use the 2x formula in doling out an allowance increase – $88 to $176 per pupil. (Gap: $630)
The House K-12 appropriations subcommittee, however, passed budget that did not include use of the 2x formula. Instead, they voted for a $100 across the board increase per pupil. (Gap: $718)
How This Impacts Northern Michigan
While the House did agree to an increase that is equal to the Governor’s executive budget recommendation, because the 2x formula was not used, the increase does nothing to close the historical gap between school districts.
Instead, the extra revenue that the House committee put towards the maximum districts should have been distributed through the 2x formula, maintaining the Legislature’s commitment to lessening the equity gap.
With a growing workforce shortage in northern Michigan, educating our students to meet northern Michigan’s growing employment needs is critical. This continued equity gap represents dollars that are not going to our students, for no other reason than that’s how it’s always been.
Let your House member know that we need them to advocate for and support the 2x formula in the House K-12 School Aid budget.
State House of Representatives: