The Time is Now: COVID-19 and Fair Funding

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan families and educators are worried about their students’ unfinished learning, while state- and district-level leaders face unprecedented decisions to safely prepare for the fall and address the potentially devastating impact of the public health and economic crises on education.

Tragically, Michigan is already among the worst states in the country for equitable funding.

For the future prosperity of Michigan and the success of our students, we must commit to becoming a more equitable education state, rather than worsening the gaps between Michigan’s rich and poor districts – and further limiting opportunities for our most vulnerable children.

Key Priorities

In The Time is Now: COVID-19 and Fair Funding, we lay out how Michigan can do that in three key ways:

  • Prioritize investment in public education over other areas of the budget, including by reversing decisions to divert money from the School Aid Fund.
  • Protect funding for vulnerable students, including by ensuring any state budget cuts, if necessary, are done fairly and equitably.
  • Ensure transparency and accountability by making a real commitment to have dollars reach the children for whom they are intended.


Press Release

Technical Appendix



Opportunity for All

The Education Trust-Midwest and a broad cross-section of business, civil rights and civic leaders who support education equity invite you to join a new campaign — Opportunity for All — to elevate the importance of equity of opportunity for all students in Michigan’s public education system and state decision-making.

Will you join the Call to Action? Your support means that you will receive regular updates in the effort to ensure Opportunity for All.

Join Us

Modeling: Fair Funding Scale

The Education Trust-Midwest (ETM), in partnership with The Education Trust, conducted extensive modeling to identify more equitable formulas that could replace Michigan’s standard, inequitable approach to budget cuts (uniform dollar cuts). To determine if an approach was more equitable, ETM looked at its impact on high-poverty districts in particular.

Key results from our modeling are presented below. The models use financial data from the 2019-20 school year (FY20 budget) and are based on a total cut that would equate to about a $470 dollar cut per pupil under Michigan’s Standard Approach to budget cuts. The magnitude of this cut was chosen because $470 was the highest single-year, per-pupil cut in Michigan’s recent policy history.

Learn More


Supporting Fair Funding

A growing number of organizations have committed to the idea that school funding should be fair, and if budget cuts cannot be avoided, equity should be prioritized. Partners include:

Alice Thompson, CEO of BFDI Educational Services, Inc.

Detroit Children’s Fund

Detroit Parent Network

The Education Trust-Midwest

Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

Hope Network’s Michigan Education Corps.

Luke Wilcox, 2017-18 Michigan Teacher of the Year

Michigan College Access Network (MCAN)

Michigan Teacher of the Year Network

Student Advocacy Center of Michigan


If you are interested in adding your organization as a supporter, please email Brian Gutman at [email protected].