Spring has finally arrived - sunshine and warmth! Spring sports have had many cancellations due to the unseasonably cold/snowy/wet weather throughout April. They have been rescheduled as best as possible. Of note, we have very large participation numbers - 183 student athletes! That is a testament to the efforts of many including coaches and other staff members encouraging our students to be student athletes. Student athletes generally perform better academically than those who do not participate. At our April Board of Education meeting, many of our student athletes were recognized for Academic All-State honors. Our Volleyball team earned the honor with a cumulative GPA of 3.9! Our Football team earned the honor with a 3.61 cumulative GPA! Congratulations to the student athletes, coaches and teachers for their hard work! Several individual student athletes earned the honor as well.
I'm sure many of you have read about, or heard about, a recently published educational adequacy study completed by the School Finance Research Collaborative. The collaborative is a statewide, diverse and bipartisan group of business leaders and educational leaders. Funding for the study came from the W.K. Kellogg, Charles Stewart Mott and Skillman foundations, as well as other nonprofits and associations. Additional funding came from 32 ISDs across Michigan. The study, in my opinion, is critical in framing the true costs of educating all children in Michigan. Even though the Parchment School District generally outperforms like districts in the state, there is still room for improvement as always.
Below is information regarding the study taken from the fundmischools.org website. Please visit the website for more information about the study and advocacy initiatives underway.
What is an Adequacy Study and why is it important?
- Adequacy studies determine the true cost of providing a quality education to all students, regardless of their income, location or other circumstances.
- These studies often include geographic cost differences, labor cost differences and analysis of geographic isolation, among other factors.
- The School Finance Research Collaborative study was done based on Michigan's State Standards for student achievement for all students in both charter and traditional public schools.
What were the report's key findings?
- Simply put, the study identified a base cost for educating a student, and also identified several factors that deserve additional funding for student characteristics including poverty, special education, English Language Learners and Career and Technical Education.
- The study also identified costs in related areas in response to school district or charter school characteristics including: transportation of students, geographic isolation, state pension system costs and enrollment size.
- The study found the base cost of a regular education student is $9,590 for both traditional public schools and charter schools. That amount excludes transportation, food service and capital costs, and only includes pension costs at 4.6% of wages.
- In addition to the base per-pupil cost, a percentage of the base cost should be provided for special education, English Language Learners, students living in poverty and programs to provide Career and Technical Education, and to account for geographic isolation.
- All school districts and those charter schools in the State Pension system (MPSERS) should receive funding in addition to the base for the payment required by law. Currently, the required additional payment is equal to approximately 21.1% of all wages.
Current funding for the Parchment School District, and the majority of other districts around the state, is $7,631 per pupil with additional funds for at-risk students and special education students ?far less than the study concludes is adequate. I would encourage anyone interested to visit the website and become involved in the advocacy efforts currently underway.
Thank you for your continued support of the Parchment School District!
Yours in Education,
Matthew J. Miller,