Educators Call for Action After New Report Confirms Michigan’s K-12 Funding Crisis

A new study released today by Michigan State University has educators calling for action from the state after showing that Michigan’s schools have faced the nation’s worst funding cuts over the past 25 years, leaving schools across the state struggling to provide the services both in and out of the classroom that our students deserve.

The report, “MICHIGAN SCHOOL FINANCE AT THE CROSSROADS: A QUARTER CENTURY OF STATE CONTROL,” also reviewed the earlier work contained in the final report of the School Finance Research Collaborative and agreed that Michigan must make a significant new investment in our K-12 schools for them to meet performance standards and implement the needed programs that will achieve success both in and out of the classroom.

“Lawmakers need to stop hiding behind talking points that claim they are investing in our schools when the reality is our funding hasn’t even kept up with the rate of inflation, let alone the increased cost of the services we are being asked to provide our students,” said TCA President and Superintendent of Farmington Schools Dr. George Heitsch. “When you see the numbers from this report showing the drastic funding cuts that have been forced on our schools in recent years, it should be no wonder why our state ranks at the bottom in reading and math proficiency. This simply has to change because our students deserve better.”

The MSU report showed that, when adjusted for inflation, Michigan’s funding for K-12 schools has dropped by 30% since 2002. Worse, Michigan has not increased funding for growing needs in special education services or programs needed for lower-income students, leaving schools having to pay for those programs out of their already shrinking general education budgets.

TCA educators today said the release of this new report should be a wake-up call for legislators as it confirms what so many parents, students and educators already knew: Michigan’s K-12 funding is in crisis.

“It was infuriating to watch our legislature push through another long-term cut to K-12 funding during lame duck in December while report after report continues to show the crisis school budgets are already in across the state,” added Heitsch. “I hope this report sends a message to this new legislature that we can’t continue to ignore this problem and we stand ready to work with Governor Whitmer and legislative leaders on a solution that truly reinvests in our schools and our students once again.”