Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Michigan Enrollment Tumbles As Spending Climbs

Written By: Mike Antonucci   – Aug• 09•13

Few traditional public school systems across the country have seen their enrollment drop as precipitously as those in Michigan. Statewide K-12 enrollment fell by almost 16 percent between 2006 and 2011. But those averages understate the decimation in several large urban districts.

Detroit’s student body declined by 41.6 percent, Flint’s by 44.7 percent, Saginaw and Taylor by more than 27 percent. But while teaching staff was also reduced (almost 10 percent statewide), per-pupil spending in many of these districts grew substantially and remained well above the state average.

Detroit’s per-pupil spending grew almost 27 percent in that five-year period, to reach $13,416. Flint’s grew by more than 38 percent to $15,092. The Pontiac school district, best known for carrying NEA’s No Child Left Behind water in Pontiac v. Spelling, is now under a state-declared financial emergency. The district lost 42.5 percent of its students, but increased spending 33.5 percent, to reach $14,434 per pupil.

Not all large districts took a downturn. Plymouth-Canton, Dearborn and Chippewa Valley all experienced enrollment and teacher workforce growth with small increases in spending.

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