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Report says Michigan should spend at least $9,550 per K-12 student

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A report pegs the cost of properly educating a student in Michigan at no less than $9,550. That’s almost $2,000 more than the current minimum.

The report also puts numbers to the costs of transportation, special education, and educating students in small, rural districts. The goal is to create an individualized per-student school funding formula.

“Preparing students who live in very rural settings to students to compete with students who don’t live in rural settings is a very tall order,” said Dan Reattoir, superintendent of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, which serves rural districts. 

The group bills this as the first comprehensive study to identify how much it costs to educate a child in Michigan.

“What we do in Michigan is so much less than many other states, and if we’re going to create a world-class system here, we’re going to have to do better when it comes to responding to the needs of individual children," said Bob Moore, director of the School Finance Research Project.

The report also says charter schools and traditional public schools should be get equal funding. It was commissioned by business and education groups.

The group hopes the study will serve as the foundation for creating a new school funding formula. Now, it’s up to the Legislature to decide what to do with the study.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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