January 22, 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

School Finance Collaborative Releases New Report

The School Finance Research Collaborative, has released a new report which provides comprehensive analysis of school funding in Michigan and recommendations for the future.

This report, which has been in the works since early 2017, builds on the findings of the state-funded Michigan Education Finance Study that was shared in 2016.

As CMF reported in 2016, the Michigan School Finance Study found that “overall, Michigan’s school finance system is moderately inequitable." The research pointed out districts with higher need tend to have fewer resources available to serve students. The department of education and the governor's office agreed more equitable investments should be made in our education system.

The School Finance Collaborative launched in January 2017, comprised of current and former educators, lawmakers, school board members, business and community leaders, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was tasked with creating an equitable roadmap for school funding. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Skillman Foundation have also awarded grants to support the Collaborative’s efforts.

Highlights of the recommendations from the School Finance Collaborative’s study include:

  • Create an adequacy-based funding system using appropriate base cost, weights, and adjustments for district characteristics:

    • The study recommends a base cost of educating a student at $9,590, not including transportation, food or capital costs.

    • The study recommends the base cost of $9,590 should also be higher for smaller districts and additional funding would be needed for students who live in poverty, receive special education and those who are English language learners to provide more equitable opportunities.

Currently: Michigan’s per-pupil funding ranges anywhere from slightly more than $7,500 to more than $8,200. In the governor’s 2017-2018 fiscal budget he did include increases for per-pupil funding ranging from $60 to $120, with the biggest increases going to the lowest-funded districts. We anticipate learning more about the governor’s proposed 2018-2019 budget in his State of the State address this week.

  • Provide the same funding for districts and charter schools: The study notes, while there are differences in the costs that the two business models face, such as differences in retirement costs and facilities costs, the study team feels that applying the $9,590 base cost figure is the correct approach.

  • The state should launch a full capital study that examines the costs faced by districts and charter schools.

    • Districts face variation in the availability of funding for capital projects. This impacts both the ability to build new buildings and districts’ ability to maintain current buildings.

  • The study team recommends the evidence-based figure of $14,155 for the cost of preschool in Michigan. Research shows the benefits that universal preschool would have for early childhood education and kindergarten readiness. The study says additional research needs to be undertaken on how best to fully implement preschool in the state.

  • Transportation funding should be provided outside of the base per student amount and funding should be tied to actual transportation costs.

    • Fund a transportation study to design a specific transportation-cost formula

    • A specific focus should include the needs of isolated districts and whether a separate funding source is needed for these districts

  • Align funding for Career and Technical Education (CTE) with program needs

    • Examining the resources needed to implement CTE classes in high schools, the evidence-based approach recommends $10,000 for every CTE teacher to cover the costs of materials and equipment.

    • The study panelists identified a cost of $752 per CTE student for additional resources.

The report focuses on an individualized approach in per-student funding in schools across Michigan, whether urban, suburban or rural.

The hope is this nearly 300-page report provides a roadmap for Michigan’s school financing model long-term.

"We know that it's a little late in the game to change what the governor is going to recommend (upcoming budget proposal) in a couple weeks," Ron Koehler, assistant superintendent at Kent Intermediate School District, who serves on the steering & technical committee for the Collaborative, told MLive. "But we can influence the discussion and we hope that we have some serious dialogue about what it really takes."

Want more?

Check out the report.

Learn more about the Collaborative.

Join the P-20 Education Affinity Group at their upcoming convening on February 6 in Lansing.






Civic Engagement Continues with Second Wave of Women’s Marches  

Over the weekend, women across Michigan, the country and the globe gathered for the second annual Women’s March, marking a year of increased civic engagement for women’s issues and creating actionable steps for 2018.

The Women’s March Michigan: Power to the Polls, was held on the steps of the state capitol Sunday in Lansing, focusing on the need for women to run for public office, as women make up less than 25 percent of the legislature in Michigan.

“In order for women to be represented in policies, they must run for office,” organizers of the march shared on Facebook.

There were also Women’s March events held in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Farmington Hills, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Traverse City and Midland, to name a few.

Last year’s inaugural Women’s March movement brought together more than 5 million people around the world, making it the largest coordinated peaceful demonstration in U.S. history and one of the largest in world history. Since then, we have seen the first Women’s March Convention held in Detroit, national conversations and movements develop around equitable pay and sexual harassment.

 “I think the Women’s March was the visible catalyst of a huge wave of social change and I think it’s only gained momentum over the course of the year,” Peg Talburtt, co-chair of Michigan Grantmakers for Women and Girls (MGWG) affinity group and CMF trustee, who attended the march in D.C. last year said. “I think the #MeToo campaign ignited because it happened in the context of the Women’s March, I think it’s been a year when women and men have just said ‘enough.”

We are also seeing an active shift in spotlighting those who are doing the work in the field. One of the breakout session speakers for the MGWG affinity group’s session at Our Common Future conference, Saru Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, was invited by actress Amy Poehler to join her at the Golden Globes. Through this, Jayaraman and her organization which advocate for fair and equitable pay, were spotlighted heavily in the media and on social.

ROC United shares that “through the ONE FAIR WAGE campaign, ROC United is fighting nationally to eliminate the two-tiered wage system by raising the separate, lower minimum wage for those who work for tips in the restaurant industry to match the regular minimum wage, so that no one has to experience the financial insecurity, discrimination, and sexual harassment that comes with being forced to live off tips.”

Talburtt says the well-organized women’s movement has sparked civic engagement with an agenda that’s inclusive of all kinds of equity issues for women, people of color and other populations.

“It’s a chance to recognize the progress that has been made but it’s very clear there’s still a long road to go,” Talburtt said.

The Women’s March provides a toolkit on how to involve and empower others, including youth, in civic engagement. The toolkit provides a roadmap for anyone who may be interested in following the steps the Women’s March has taken for an effective movement, including how to:

  • Identify a cause and learn how to organize and mobilize your community

  • Get educated on voting and get ready to vote

  • Get ready to run for office

When it comes to empowering and supporting women to run for public office, Talburtt said, “I think we’ve turned that corner where women are now being asked by the national offices and within states to run.”

Want more?

Connect with the Michigan Grantmakers for Women & Girls Affinity Group at their upcoming convening on March 8 in Detroit.

Check out the toolkit from the Women’s March about effective ways to organize.







Michigan Employs New Tool to Tackle Opioid Crisis

The state has announced a new data analysis tool is now in place within the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) to combat the opioid crisis in our state.

According to the state, the tool, NarxCare collects and presents patient data into “predictive risk scores, graphs individual prescription trends and translates patient behaviors into red flags.” This information is connected to their health records and presented to health care professionals.

“The addition of NarxCare to MAPS strengthens our prevention efforts in addressing the opioid epidemic in Michigan,” Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said. “NarxCare gives prescribers and dispensers a more robust way to better identify potential abuse of opioids and substance use disorders.”

 This comes after Calley signed bills into law in December which require prescribers to check a patient’s prescription history in MAPS prior to providing controlled substances to patients.

“Providing care teams with easy-to-access tools and resources to communicate with patients about substance use and connect them to treatment options is a great step,” Becky Cienki, senior program officer, Michigan Health Endowment Fund told CMF. “A remaining challenge in order to improve the likelihood of successful referrals, is that it will be important to equip care teams with brief intervention skills and to continue the integration of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.”

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund has awarded several grants to address various issues arising from the opioid crisis, including supporting outpatient clinics in metro Detroit to provide education, diagnosis and treatment to those with opioid use disorders.

What the state’s data on the growing opioid crisis tells us:

  • From 1999 to 2016, the total number of overdose deaths involving any type of opioid increased more than 17 times in Michigan, from 99 to 1,689.  

  • Data from MAPS reported 11.4 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2015 were written, about 115 opioid prescriptions per 100 people.

  • In 2016, 2,335 people died of drug overdoses. That’s more deaths than those which resulted from car crashes.

“Communities are well aware of the growing epidemic in their communities,” Nora Maloy, tri-chair of the Health Funders Affinity Group and director of programs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation told CMF. “Many community organizations are partnering to develop a unified strategy in terms of prevention and treatment for the families affected by this epidemic.”

In fact, just last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation along with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and the Superior Health Foundation announced they joined together and funded nine community coalitions around the state for over $570,000 to address the opioid epidemic in their communities. 

Last summer the foundations formed a partnership to support the Taking Action on Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse in Michigan. The program supports evidence-based programs and projects in as many as seven coalitions formed in Michigan communities over 18 months to identify and implement strategies to prevent opioid abuse.

“We have not turned the corner yet, opioid deaths are predicted to increase over the next several years rather than decrease,” Maloy said. “I would like to see philanthropic foundations work with the state and federal government to develop a multi-year plan to address opioid abuse and misuse in Michigan.”

Last week in an op-ed in USA Today, an assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, said the work of President Donald Trump and his administration has led to the opioid crisis being declared an emergency and helped move the work forward to address it.

“We are also pursuing new ways to empower state agencies and civil society through technical assistance, adopting a more individualized approach,” Elinore F. McCance-Katz wrote. “HHS is also answering the president’s call to focus on public awareness, beginning the market research and message-testing we know is necessary for such campaigns to succeed.”

Want more?

Connect with the Health Funders Affinity Group.

Check out this additional resource: Rural Communities, Older People and the Opioid Crisis: An Introduction for Funders.








McGregor Fund Awards Grant to Support Launch of Detroit Justice Center

Content excerpted from a press release. Read the full release here.

The McGregor Fund recently announced a $600,000 lead gift to launch the Detroit Justice Center, a new community law center addressing the harmful consequences of mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty for Detroit families.

The center will provide legal services for hundreds of low income individuals facing barriers to employment, housing, driver’s licenses and other means to opportunity – barriers that can be caused by compounded traffic and other minor fines, low-level warrants, arrest and conviction records, and other justice system involvement.

Over time, the center will also help create housing and economic opportunities for returning citizens working hard to rebuild their lives and families, and advocate more broadly for restorative justice practices (such as programs focused on rehabilitation and reconciliation) within the state and local criminal justice systems.

“The McGregor Fund has heard from social service agencies that the majority of their clients face material hardship because either a family member is currently incarcerated, or they themselves were formerly incarcerated and face residual legal barriers to restarting their lives,” Kate Levin Markel, president, McGregor Fund said.

“Two in three families with an incarcerated loved one have difficulty meeting basic needs—buying food, keeping the lights on—because of their incarceration,” Amanda Alexander, JD/PhD, founder and executive director of the center said. “Over the past several years, it’s become clear to me that Detroit and other cities will never work for everyone unless we address mass incarceration and its ripple effects across the community.”

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