Glen Lake Board Member on School Funding

Glen Lake School Board trustee Jeff Smith has written an excellent letter to the Free Press regarding education funding inequities in Michigan that everyone should read.

Consider that this year the state will pay my school district in northern Michigan about $7,000 to educate my daughter, while at the same time, Birmingham’s school district, between state and local taxes, will have about $12,000 to educate a girl there. Multiplied from kindergarten through 12th grade, that difference would mean the girl in Birmingham receives a $156,000 education while my daughter receives a $91,000 education — a $65,000 gap.

Read Make district funding more equal by Jeff Smith in the Detroit Free Press.

3 replies
  1. Traverse
    Traverse says:

    What is the correlation between dollars spent on students and student
    achievement? I have read that the highest performing students on the
    college boards (ACT and/or SAT) were from the northern tier midwestern
    states like Minnesota, North Dakota, etc. If so, it suggests that the
    amount spent on each student is not as important as the family and
    culture they grow up in. It is not just a question of dollars spent.

  2. jamesm1
    jamesm1 says:

    Consider this…if Jeff wants to educate his children at the same spending levels of the
    Birmingham schools he is free to move to Birmingham. Those parents sacrifice much
    to afford to live where their kids get a top notch public education and the good schools
    have driven up the cost of housing in Birmingham. Its the price people are willing to pay!

    Is Glen expecting the parents in Birmingham to write a personal check to pay
    for his kids education. Oops, I forgot, they already do!

    Birmingham property taxes are more than double what Glen Lakes are,
    and assessed values are huge. You can compare at the State’s web site.
    For example, a homesteaded property valued at $100,000 pays $4,405 per year in Birmingham
    vice $1783 in Glen Lake. This example doesn’t even consider the astonomical premium
    Birmingham residents pay for housing.
    You want more dollars for education, start by doubling YOUR own property taxes.
    My guess is that Birmingham residents ALREADY pay thousands of dollars towards
    underwriting the cost of educating Glen Lake and many other of the rest of State’s students.
    What Glen is really asking for is for Birmingham residents to pay even MORE
    of the cost of educating YOUR kids.
    I say, if the grass is so much greener in Birmingham – then move. But don’t sit in
    Glen Arbor and expect “others” to pay MORE for YOUR kids education.
    You chose where you wanted to live and are already getting more than your fair share of
    other people’s money

    The system is unfair…but its communities like Birmingham that are the ones
    getting the shaft – not Glen Lake.

  3. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    James, you’re actually incorrect. Like Birmingham, Glen Lake is a net exporter of school aid moneys.

    Under Proposal A, a district CANNOT raise millage rates and increase school revenues. It all goes to the state and then is given back according to the foundation grant. If it were the case that districts were allowed to assess supplemental millages, that would work very well for a district like Glen Lake.

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