Financing Michigan's Public Schools: Methods, Problems and Remedies
Johnson, Eric Dean
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Financing public schools in the State of Michigan involves distributing financial burden between local taxpayers and State revenues. Michigan employs a membership formula which establishes a minimum spending level per pupil, or guaranteed yield, for each of the State's 561 public school districts. Districts unable to reach this guaranteed yield with local property tax revenues are aided with State dollars. currently, great disparity exists in the funding of Michigan's public schools. While out of formula districts generally have an advantage over in formula districts, steps can be taken to improve the financial standing of these poorer districts. These include boosting enrollment in adult education, generating additional state dollars without incurring proportional expenses, and running an effective millage campaign, gaining approval for increased millage in the district. Also, current legislation may change the face of· public school finance in Michigan. The Olmstead-Kearney Proposal for Total School Reform moves to achieve greater equity in school finance and establish an educational bill of rights, moving Michigan in the direction of the national average. While involved with Redford Union Schools, I was exposed to a myriad of financial and political data. I was a member of the Citizens' Action Committee and was a contributor to an extremely well-run millage renewal campaign. The 1.25 mills renewal will generate $4 million dollars earmarked for repairing Redford Union's lagging infrastructure.