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April 22, 2014 - Michigan Residents Overwhelmingly Support Equity in School Funding, Bringing Charter Schools in Line

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 
Buddy Moorehouse 
Vice President of Communications 
517-515-9496
bmoorehouse@charterschools.org 

 

MRG Poll: Michigan Residents Overwhelmingly Support Equity in School Funding, Bringing Charter Schools in Line

LANSING, Michigan (April 22, 2014) – Students at Michigan’s charter schools currently receive about $1,400 less in per-pupil state funding than students at traditional public schools. According to a recent statewide poll, residents overwhelmingly feel that needs to change.

A scientific poll of 600 likely voters, conducted in March by the Marketing Resource Group (MRG), showed that 70 percent of state residents believe that all students should receive equal state funding, regardless of the type of public school they attend. Only 20 percent of Michigan residents oppose funding equity; the remaining respondents either didn’t have an opinion or refused to answer.

The poll results were released by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers (MCCSA).

Respondents were asked: “Currently, a student attending a charter public school receives an average of $1,400 less than a student attending a traditional public school. Do you favor or oppose legislation to ensure that all public school students receive equal funding for their education regardless of the type or location of the public school they attend?”

Fifty percent of respondents said they “strongly favor” equal funding, while another 20 percent said they “somewhat favor” it. Only 12 percent were “strongly opposed,” while 6 percent were “somewhat opposed.”

“It’s heartening to know that Michigan residents overwhelmingly agree that we need to value all students equally,” said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry. “Whatever kind of public school you choose to attend, you should be treated equitably. Charter school students have suffered from this ‘opportunity gap’ for too long. It’s time to close that gap, and it’s good to see that most residents of Michigan agree. Every child deserves a quality education in a quality school, and that’s not possible if we don’t start valuing all students equally.”

Besides receiving less in per-pupil state funding, charter schools in Michigan also face unique and challenging needs related to facilities. Charter schools in Michigan do not have the same access to state dollars available to help fund schools. Charters are not allowed to hold school millage elections like traditional schools to raise bond money to fund facilities. 

“All kids in Michigan public schools need to be treated equally, it just makes sense,” said MCCSA Executive Director Jared Burkhart. “After 20 years of operating in Michigan, charter schools still do not have the same funding opportunities to finance their facilities. Charters have to take school building funding out of their state per-pupil funding allotment while traditional schools have the ability to raise local tax revenues by bonding for their facilities. This statewide poll confirms that most Michigan voters support providing the same funding support for charter public schools as those in traditional schools. Now is the time to takes steps to close the gap.”

The MRG poll’s findings are consistent with other polls that show strong support for funding equity in Michigan. A March survey by Denno Research, commissioned by the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) showed that 87 percent of state residents support equal funding for students.

Another poll, released earlier this week by the “Classroom & Kids” coalition, showed strong support for a proposal that would reduce categorical spending – an idea that would provide more equitable funding for all children, including charter school students.

“Every poll shows the same thing – parents want more equitable funding for their students,” Quisenberry said.

 

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies advances quality education through choice and innovation. MAPSA has been the unified voice of the public charter school movement in Michigan since 1996. MAPSA represents more than 141,000 students, 6,000 teachers, dozens of authorizers and more than 50 education service providers working in 298 public charter schools in the state. MAPSA assists the state’s public charter schools in their mission to deliver achievement, choice and accountability through advocacy, communications, technical assistance and professional development services. For additional information, please visit www.charterschools.org.

 

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For media inquires contact:
Buddy Moorehouse
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