How Does Your Michigan District Rate? 531 Schools Costs vs Income
It seems like a simple question: How are Michigan school districts funded? Well, that is not as easy of a question to answer as you would think. The simple answer is through local, state, and federal taxes. But why do some districts get more funding than others?
The primary source of a district's revenue is the School Aid Fund (SAF), partially funded by the State Education Tax, which is collected, with a few exceptions, on most property in Michigan at a rate of 6 mills.
Why Some Michigan Schools Lack the Funding of More Successful Districts
Each district's funding varies, as local property taxes are a big part of the school's bottom line. This is what separates big-budget schools from the rest.
Some areas have large employers and densely populated mid to upper-income family homes that pump dollars into the education systems. Michigan school districts that don't have the population or business tax base get left behind.
Schools can also generate up to an additional 18 mills if the district's voters approve it. But what are districts to do that can't get millages passed? Will the children in those schools get the same education as other more well-funded schools in more affluent areas? Sadly, no, they won't.
Studies have shown that low-income districts in Michigan are underfunded by $6,700 per student. Michigan schools may all share the same funding formula but, the math always works in favor of schools with a higher tax base and leaves those without to scramble for ways to offer the same opportunities.
Ranking 531 Michigan School Districts: Spending v Income
Gallery Credit: Scott Clow