Vulnerable Michigan students, particularly low-income students, English students and students with disabilities, should be protected from future cuts in the state budget, a group of education supporters said Tuesday.

Education Trust-Midwest and business, civil and civil rights leaders have launched a campaign, Opportunities for All, to invite state leaders to invest in Michigan students and to adopt a fairer education funding system, while legislators grapple with shortcomings expected for 2020 – 21 school years.

Based on budget modeling, Education Trust-Midwest officials say they reviewed the impact of Michigan’s approach to budget cuts by looking at funding data for each district in the state.

The analysis, which averages $ 470 per schooling, offers four funding options to protect low-funding districts and students with high needs. Such systems would mean a major cut in funding for richer school districts, according to the Education Trust-Midwest model.

Models include:

►A “reduced denomination” which reduces the reduction of amounts for districts to lower funding levels and for vulnerable students in districts with higher funds. For the wealthiest districts, the cut would be $ 584, the poorest $ 431.

►A “bridging the gap” system in which districts receive a lower cut for each student with additional needs. For the wealthiest districts, the cut would be $ 698, the poorest $ 297.

►A system where cuts to vulnerable student groups are not allowed. For the wealthiest districts, the cut would be $ 764, the poorest $ 147.

Amber Arellano, executive director of the Educational Education Trust-Midwest, said that the models contrast with Michigan’s standard approach to budget cuts, which imposes homogeneous and uniform cuts, regardless of the level of poverty or need of students or communities .

“Michigan must carefully examine its long-standing systemic injustices and choose to invest in public education, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the division of opportunities among Michigan students,” said Arellano.

“Now is the time to face these inequities. But if budget cuts are needed, Michigan leaders should provide more support to needy students who have been served for decades. We ask heads of state to create opportunities for everyone.”

Strategies include fair approaches to budget cuts that act as alternatives to Michigan’s standard approach to budget cuts and increased transparency and accountability for state investment, said Mike Jandernoa, campaign member and founder and president of 42 North Partners. .

“Michigan needs a skilled workforce to ensure a strong and prosperous economy, which means we must give every student equal access to opportunities for a successful future,” said Jandernoa. “Our state leaders must engage in a fair education funding system that helps fill the gaps between Michigan’s wealthy and poor neighborhoods and supports our most vulnerable children.”

In particular, the group asked to favor investments in public education over other areas of the budget, also by reversing the decisions to divert money from the Fund for school aid.

He also wants the state to ensure transparency and accountability by pledging to make sure that the dollars reach the children for which they are intended, campaign leaders said.

This includes the requirement for districts to spend 75% of risky funding and funding for English students in a school where qualified students have been attending since the 2022-23 school year, establishing searchable databases and requiring communications timely disclosure of district financial decisions and investments.

Detroit Parent Network’s Jametta Lilly said that state policies, funding, and the mindset have consistently underfunded and underdeveloped the essential tools and beliefs that help young people thrive.

“In the face of difficult choices and economic uncertainty, we are asking legislators to embrace and protect historically vulnerable populations,” said Lilly.

jchambers@detroitnews.com

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