GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A report released Wednesday by a school funding advocacy group provides a better idea of how much it costs to educate students in Michigan.
The School Finance Research Collaborative released report looking at how the state can improve funding for schools.
The report was presented at press conferences at Grand Rapids Innovation Central High School and schools in Lansing and Southfield.
The report found that on average, it costs the state $9,590 each year to educate a traditional K-12 student. For preschoolers, the number is $14,155.>>PDF: The report
The figures don’t include the costs of food or transportation. The group pointed out there are additional costs of educating students who speak English as a second language.
“Special education is a federal mandate (and) is underfunded in the state of Michigan, according to the lieutenant governor in his study, by $700 million. Imagine the underfunding of general education students whose education isn’t federally mandated and protected,” Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said.
The organization that released the study is made up of business leaders and educators from across the state. The collaborative hopes policymakers will use the data from the report to make decisions about funding education in the future.
“This is bipartisan,” Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said. “This isn’t one group of people that said, ‘This is what we need and we’re just out for money.’ That isn’t it. We are about educating children and becoming the best state, the top state. This isn’t pitting one district against another or a charter school against a traditional charter school, that isn’t it. It’s a group of people that came together to say this is what we need for the children in the state of Michigan and I think that’s important.”