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How School Funding Works

Chase the money and unravel how Michigan's public schools are paid for with Metro Parent's handy chart

Making ends meet in schools today is no simple feat. Money's needed for teacher salaries, classroom supplies, utility bills and everything in between. Yet a cash crunch is steadily outpacing – if not outright trouncing – districts' ability to pay. Why? Look to the source.

School funding is a complicated beast. Just like any household, every school district has both a source of income – and a laundry list of bills that constantly need paying. The primary chunk of change comes from the state's "School Aid Fund": mostly a handful of state taxes (the 6-percent "sales and use" tax leads the pack), with federal money and Michigan Lottery profits topping off the final 11 percent or so. The rest comes from local businesses (aka, "non-residential property taxes"). And there are caveats, of course: Certain funds must be used for specific types of expenses.

Want to see a breakdown? Click on the image (above right) to for a flowchart of how the school money is chopped up in Michigan.

 

Feb 2, 2010 08:51 pm
 Posted by  32142terry

Is it not strange that school districts have to submit balanced budgets by July 1 each year? That the state does not tell the school districts until October 1, of that year, how much money they will receive per student. If the districts are lucky to receive this information in October – or they could still be waiting for the final figures, 5 months late, like they are right now.

Also the state continues to pay less than they said they would each payment day. Of course, the school districts look like they can't handle their monies very well when they have to make cuts 2 or 3 times each year. When it's the state government at fault. Being a high school teacher for 26 years, I'll guess that 4+5=9 (how did I do!).

Sincerely,
Terry Rodgers

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