Looking to improve funding for Michigan schools

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 18:29:04-05

Public schools throughout Michigan receive their funding the same way.

"Basically foundation allowance in a public school is so much per student," Rob Fowler, the CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan said.

A group of school leaders and business experts is saying that method might be outdated. That's why they're teaming up to create the school finance research collaborative. They want to look at what works and what doesn't.

"The real goal is to bring something to the table that legislators, policy makers can use to create a better education system in Michigan," Former Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson said.

They say the problem is each district has different needs that a one-size-fits-all funding system can't address.

"That formula doesn't necessarily take into account that I might be a district with 50 percent English language learners," Oakland Schools Superintendent Wanda Cook-Robinson said.

And in some cases it's not the amount of money that's the issue.

"I don't necessarily begin with whether we need more money,” Fowler said. “It's how we spend our money that might be the place to start in this discussion"

The first thing they want to do is take a state report from last summer and build on it.

“So our hope is we're going to bring some best practices to the table,” Fowler said. “And that our law makers here in Michigan have a chance to see what's really working in other places."

In hopes of making it work here.