As you know, Gov. Whitmer released her proposed FY 2023-2024 budget today. While the budget contains a 5% increase in per-pupil funding, it also includes a 20% decrease for students who attend fully online charter public schools. There are four times as many students who attend fully online programs that are part of traditional public school districts, but they are not included in the proposed cuts - only charter school students are.
Below is a statement on the budget that can be attributed to Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association.
Michigan needs to provide equitable funding to every student and every school. After three school years of pandemic-interrupted learning, and plenty of evidence that students have fallen tragically behind as a result, our top priority with this budget should be treating all students equitably so that they can get back on track. Michigan parents have the right to make a decision about where their student attends public school and for the public funding the State of Michigan provides for a public education to follow them.
During her inauguration remarks on Jan. 1, Gov. Whitmer said "Let’s empower every child, no matter where they live, so that they can pursue their potential.” As a result, we find it confusing and frustrating that some students are being funded less than other students in this budget.
The budget as proposed would hurt some of the most vulnerable children in the state – students who are dealing with medical and mental issues, students who are enrolled in their school because they fear for their safety, members of the LGBTQ+ community. These are students we should be looking to lift up; instead, they’re being held down.
We expect the Governor and members of the State Legislature will live up to the spirit and commitment of the MI Kids Back on Track plan by supporting all public school students equitably, regardless of the type of public school their families chose for them.