Charter students miss out on second state-aid payment; schools feel the burn

Buddy Moorehouse
Nov 20, 2019 10:25:00 AM

The second state-aid payment of the school year is going out today – Wednesday, Nov. 20 – and for the second straight month, charter school students are missing out.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used a line-item veto on Oct. 1 to eliminate the $240-per-pupil increase that charter school students were scheduled to receive. Students in traditional public schools – including in the state’s wealthiest communities – will be receiving an increase today, while charter school students will be receiving nothing.

Statewide, about 70 percent of all charter school students qualify as economically disadvantaged. Half the students in Detroit and Flint alone attend a charter school, and are receiving nothing today in terms of a state-aid increase. 

Charter schools are still receiving the same base foundation they received last year, while all traditional public schools are receiving an increase.

Schools receive their state-aid payments in 11 installments throughout the school year (every month except September). The first payment of the school year went out on Oct. 21, while the second payment goes out today. Charter school students missed out on receiving their increase in both payments, due to Gov. Whitmer’s veto.

This continues to be an unconscionable situation. Quality education is a fundamental human right, and the funding for that education should follow those humans, not the institutions doing the teaching. Our elected officials should advocate for EVERY child to have the right resources, no matter where they go to school. Michigan kids are the ones suffering right now.

- MAPSA President, Dan Quisenberry

The impact of Gov. Whitmer’s action is beginning to be felt at charter schools across the state. To gauge the damage being done to teaching, learning and school safety across the state, MAPSA contacted several charter schools to see how the Governor’s veto is impacting them. Here’s a sampling:

Woodland Park Academy, Grand Blanc

Loss of funding: About $95,000

School mission: Woodland Park Academy is a K-8 charter school that largely serves students who live in Flint. The school integrates the fine arts throughout its curriculum.

Impact from loss of funding: Among other cuts, Woodland Park Academy has reduced the amount of professional development that teachers will be receiving this year, and has been forced to reduce the amount of intervention programming offered to its most vulnerable students.

WAY Academy, Detroit

Loss of funding: More than $75,000

School mission: WAY Academy is a grade 7-12 charter school that features project-based learning and an individualized curriculum in a blended-learning environment.

Impact from loss of funding: Because of the loss of the $240-per pupil increase, WAY Academy has been forced to make reductions in school security and custodial services.

AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School, Southfield

Loss of funding: About $100,000

School mission: The AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School is a high-performing K-12 charter school that specializes in teaching the Armenian language and culture.

Impact from loss of funding: The school was planning on spending its $240-per-pupil increase to hire a new ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher to help teach the large influx of refugee students the school has seen this year.

Creative Technologies Academy, Cedar Springs

Loss of funding: About $75,000

School mission: Creative Technologies Academy is a K-12 charter school that features small class sizes and an emphasis on teaching character and leadership.

Impact from loss of funding The school was planning on spending its $240-per-pupil increase to give raises to teachers and other staff members, and to fund several program enhancements.

The da Vinci Institute, Jackson

Loss of funding: About $125,000

School mission: The da Vinci Institute is a K-12 charter school that features individualized education and a heavy emphasis on dual enrollment for its high school students.

Impact from loss of funding: The school was planning on spending its $240-per-pupil increase on a variety of enhancements, including field trips, technology upgrades for students, and pay increases for teachers and staff.

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