How Much Does Michigan Spend on Education Compared to Other States?

By: Jamie Edmonds
By: Jamie Edmonds

Superintendents, teachers, and parents packed a school aid subcommittee hearing Wednesday making their opinions of the Governor's proposed cuts to education well known.

"That's going to be devastating," Mike Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools said. "We're going to have to increase class sizes, our curriculum will have to be cut at the high school level."

Looking for perspective during this budget battle, News Ten went out in search of how Michigan compares to other states in terms of education funding. The answer might surprise you.

"We are relatively well-funded in relationship to the nation on a per-pupil basis," Snyder said Monday.

The National Center for Education statistics backs up the governor's statement, citing Michigan has the 18th most funded state on a per pupil basis.

"In the national context, we're slightly above the national average," Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council said. "When you look at the Great Lakes neighbors, we tend to be below those states."

The most recent statistics the center calculated for are for the 2007-2008 school year. If you include federal, state, and local funding, on average, Michigan spent $11,155 per pupil.

Everything being equal, our neighbors in Wisconsin spent $11,370. Ohio spent about the same, Indiana was a bit behind at $9,569.

New York brought the whole Great Lakes average up spending $18,423, while the US average was just under $11,000.

Thiel said even if Michigan is spending more than most states, that doesn't mean every district can handle the cuts to their bottom line.

"Some districts are in different financial health than others," Thiel said. "In those cases, most don't have the reserves to make up the difference and that causes problems."

Shibler said his district receives well-below the nation and state average in per pupil funding, and the governor's cuts would be devastating.

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