The Northville Educational Foundation Supports Students And Educators In All 10 Northville Public Schools
— that is more than 7,800 Northville Public Schools students and educators each year. Our goal is to help Northville Public Schools provide children with the finest educational experience possible.
It is easy to assume that because we live in a comfortable community like Northville, we do not need an Educational Foundation--that is not the case. Overall funding is not enough. In a recent study, the Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative has recommended that schools receive a base cost of $9,590 per pupil, with additional funding weighted by factors such as number of English language learners, district size, etc., up to a maximum of $11,482 per pupil -- far above our current $8,409 per pupil funding.
School Funding Frequently Asked Questions
Doesn’t our property taxes pay for our schools? Before 1994, property taxes were solely used to fund schools. However, when the state passed Proposal A in 1994, that changed. The state funds Michigan’s school districts through a “foundation allowance.” Instead of local property values dictating the funding level for the individual districts, a combination of funding sources are collected by the state and redistributed as a per pupil foundation allowance. Therefore, a rise in taxable values of properties in the District, all else being equal, does not generate additional operating dollars for the district because they are no longer related.
Doesn’t the lottery cover the costs for schools? There is a perception that lottery revenue significantly funds the School Aid Fund. In fact, in 1995, lottery revenue contributed 5 %. In 2018-19, it is estimated that it will fund 7% of the School Aid Fund.
We just passed a big bond, shouldn’t that cover it? While the district is incredibly thankful to the community for passing the bond in 2017, the money from a bond can only be used for what was outlined in the ballot language, in this case, for upgrading our facilities. By law, none of that money can be used for operating costs, i.e. staffing, books, utilities, etc.
I heard that enrollment is going down. Why aren’t we cutting costs to match?
Because over 80% of school districts’ operating costs are fixed (salaries and benefits), districts are unable to shed costs as quickly as the decline in revenue when enrollment goes down. In addition, although overall enrollment may go down, the decreases are spread across K-12 and does not always allow for decreasing staff size. Two-thirds of Michigan school districts have seen enrollment declines, due largely to the decline in the birth rate.
Why does Birmingham, West Bloomfield and Farmington get more money per pupil? When the state passed Proposal A, there were districts where the new funding model would have resulted in a lower per-student amount. In order to guarantee that those districts would sustain their funding level, they were designated as “Hold Harmless” districts. These districts were allowed to tax their community to make up the difference in their operating budget. Northville is not a “Hold Harmless” district and therefore is not legally able to tax its citizens to provide addition funds for their operating budget. Although, the state has been steadily closing the gap between the districts, economic change in our community is not considered. In fact, we are currently at the highest foundation allowance amount.
Can’t we just repeal Proposal A? or ask the State to reconsider our foundation allowance? Changing Proposal A or asking the state to reconsider our foundation allowance would require changing the Constitution—not an easy task. School funding would have to be completely reconsidered. A study published in January 2018 by the Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative might help begin the school funding conversation again.
Is this why Northville has an Educational Foundation? Yes! We help because school funding falls short. We can not do it without you. Please consider donating now.
To learn more about school funding in Michigan, click here.
The Foundation stepped up "during a time when the School District literally had the rug pulled out from underneath us from a school funding perspective – the District was holding Managing Our Future Community Forums – which led to over 10 million dollars in cost saving actions that included sacrifices on the part of our teachers, staff, parents and families.
"We would not have been able to add programming to uphold Northville’s longstanding Tradition of Excellence during a time of such significant reductions without Northville Educational Foundation’s commitment to attract, manage, and distribute charitable gifts to provide educational opportunities that enhance Northville Public Schools’ commitment to educational excellence.”
- Mary Kay Gallagher, Superintendent, Northville Public Schools