Proposal A had a good philosophy at its back, but for practical purposes, it has landed Michigan schools dead last in funding, and way at the bottom of test scores that measure learning. The School Aid Fund — designed to “maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law’ as required by the Michigan Constitution” — gets tapped for higher education instead.
An August 2018 report from the Michigan League for Public Policy reported more than $4 billion of School Aid Fund money went to universities and community colleges since 2010.
We’re also failing in special education; last summer, Michigan’s high drop-out rate and poor performance landed us in “intervention status” for not meeting federal requirements, according to a U.S. Department of Education evaluation.
So, what if we all play our legal, state-run lottery a bit more?
Bridge Magazine recently did a piece on the flow of green (property tax) and orange (lottery) money to schools, and found that 26 percent of the Michigan Lottery goes to schools, the rest back into the lottery (62 percent to winnings; 9 percent went to lottery vendors and retailers; 3 percent was used for the lottery operations and administration). And while $941 million in 2018 is nothing to shake a pointer at — it adds up to only 7.5 percent of school funding. The vast majority comes from sales tax (Proposal A). May 31, 2019 – Traverse City Record-Eagle