What does Gov. Whitmer's FY 2020 Budget mean for MI public education?

Alicia Urbain
Mar 5, 2019 2:54:03 PM

Today, Governor Whitmer presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget to the legislature, marking the first step in the budget process. There is a lot to digest with this budget, and we are still evaluating many of the pieces. However, there are a few key things we want to draw your attention to.  

First, the Governor is proposing to take the first step towards implementing the Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative (SFRC) report recommendations for a weighted funding formula - meaning certain factors like poverty, English Language Learning needs, and special education will also affect funding.

In the proposal, the Governor is recommending a Foundation Allowance (or base minimum of funding given to every student) increase of $180 per pupil for all charter schools (and any other school at the state minimum) and a $120 per pupil increase for the school at the state maximum. While we welcome any increase for charter students and other students at the lower end of funding scale, this model still doesn't fully close the equity gap. 

As the details and the weights for the weighted funding formula are still being digested, the Governor is suggesting that Special Needs, economically disadvantaged, academically at-risk students, and Career and Technical Education students receive additional funds. Here's that breakdown:  

  • $120 million to increase state reimbursement for special education services by 4 percentage points.
  • $102 million to increase state support for economically disadvantaged, academically at-risk students. Total state funding is recommended at $619 million, which will provide an estimated $894 per eligible pupil.
  • $50 million to provide additional Career and Technical Educationopportunities for students, which will provide an estimated $487 per eligible pupil.

Second, the Governor is also proposing a 20% cut in the Foundation Allowance for cyber schools. This appears to only apply to cyber CHARTER schools and not all cyber schools.    

MAPSA has long-since supported funding formulas that recognize student-based needs, rather than funding based on costs, zip codes, or medium of delivery - that includes cyber and blended-learning schools who operate with unconventional virtual classrooms.  We strongly oppose any funding model that differentiates funding simply on how a classroom or school "should" look, and highly encourage cyber charter parents, board members and advocates to attend our Charters Make a Difference project, where you can directly tell your story to your local lawmakers. 

Lastly, the funding for many of these increases is coming from a proposed $0.45 per gallon gas tax increase. And while MAPSA does not advocate where we believe education funding should come from, we urge that whatever is allocated is distributed equitably between all schools.  

Right now, the legislature is in the early process of reviewing the proposed School Aid Budget, and we cannot predict what level of funding will be passed when that process is over. However, we do know that education funding is critical - and it's our belief that every student should have equal funding and equal opportunity. Stay tuned as we continue to unpack the 2020 MI School Aid Budget, we'll be calling on you very soon to help stand up for our charter students. 

A photo of the 2018 MI Charter Day at the Capitol celebration.

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