New Report Shows Michigan Charter Schools Achieve Superior Results Despite Funding Disparity

LANSING, Michigan – A new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reveals that charter schools in Michigan are achieving superior results in student achievement despite receiving far less in per-pupil funding.

The report by researchers Corey DeAngelis and Ben DeGrow is titled, “Doing More With Less: The Charter School Advantage in Michigan.” The researchers studied charter school performance and funding inequities in 92 Michigan communities. The report concludes, “Charters in Michigan are more cost effective and produce a larger return on investment for taxpayers.”

The report listed its three key findings:

  • On average, Michigan charter schools receive about $2,782, or 20 percent, less per pupil than traditional public schools.
  • Based in part on this funding disparity, the average public charter school studied is 32 percent more cost effective than the average traditional public school located in the same city.
  • As measured by expected lifetime earnings of each student, the average charter school generates about $2.63 more return on investment for each dollar it spends — 36 percent higher than the average traditional public school.

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association, said the report provides even more evidence that charter schools are achieving superior results despite the funding disparity.

“This is what happens when you combine innovation and accountability,” said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry. “You achieve superior results. Despite being at a severe funding disadvantage, our schools are showing greater achievement. The one group that should be the most pleased with this report is Michigan taxpayers. As the report says, they’re getting an outstanding return on their investment with charter schools.”

Quisenberry said the report is another reminder that all students need to be funded equally when it comes to state funding.

“No matter the type of public school their parents have chosen, every child in Michigan deserves to be treated equally,” Quisenberry said. “This report points out that charter school students are worth 20 percent less to the state. That’s not fair and it’s not right. Let’s treat all students equally – and just look at the results we’ll see.”