Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

What does it really cost to educate students? Let’s take another stab at figuring it out.

On Jan. 10, we officially launched the School Finance Research Collaborative, a broad-based and diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P. who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

The collaborative is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine our approach to financing Michigan’s schools to fully prepare all students for jobs and success, from our urban centers to the suburbs, to rural areas and the U.P. You can learn more about our ongoing effort at

It’s become abundantly clear that the way Michigan funds its schools is broken. We must reexamine our approach so all students can achieve and succeed.

Small businesses, which fuel Michigan’s economic engine, rely on our public schools to prepare students for jobs, technical education and college so they are fully prepared for the rapidly evolving 21st century workforce.

Currently, our K-12 school funding decisions are made based on the current economic condition of the state and political compromise. But those decisions fail to address the long-term question, “What will it take to prepare today’s children for tomorrow’s economy?” It’s an issue of crucial importance to entrepreneurs, who report that access to talent is one of the biggest challenges to future small-business growth and success.

Working together, the School Finance Research Collaborative will create a roadmap to providing great learning opportunities for the next generation of young people, whether they work in the private and public sector or launch their own firms as entrepreneurs.

The state-funded Michigan Education Finance Study, released in June of last year, provided useful data on how we can better serve all students. The collaborative will build on those findings by conducting a truly comprehensive school adequacy study.

Some people have prematurely criticized the collaborative, claiming our work will invariably lead to recommendations for more school funding. We’re committed to letting research – not any preconceived notion or agenda – drive the Collaborative’s work in the months ahead.

Our goal is to collect the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students, something that has never been done in a comprehensive way in Michigan.

The collaborative’s report will use multiple proven and established methods to measure school funding adequacy. At the end of this process, we will deliver those findings to Michigan policymakers, stakeholders and taxpayers.

Our overarching goal is to prepare all students for jobs and bright futures right here in the Great Lakes state. The success of all of our students will keep Michigan’s economic comeback charging forward.

We hope the collaborative’s wide-ranging expertise will shed a guiding light on this crucial process as it moves forward.

How impactful was this article for you?

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact David Zeman. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now