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Michigan K-12 enrollment to fall by 9% by 2025

Pete Prodoehl

A new report found that enrollment in K-12 public schools in Michigan will fall by nine percent by 2025, compared to 2013.

The report comes from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the US Department of Education.

Chris Wigent is the with the Michigan Association of School Administrators, which represents superintendents. He said school budgets are tied to the number of students attending.

“So if a school district loses children, as many have been around the state, and it sounds like many will continue, it creates an immediate reduction from their budget. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for districts to reduce their expenditures by the same amount.”

Wigent said a drop of that size could have a devastating impact on schools - particularly in smaller, rural districts.

“Many districts have had to close buildings because of the declines that have already happened. Unfortunately we’ve seen a reduction in many salaries of teachers, administrators, and support staff. But there is a threshold and I would say school funding is very fragile in this state.”

Wigent said developing a new way to fund schools is essential.

“I think we all need to sit down in a nonpartisan way and take a look at the future of education in Michigan. No one is going to say that it’s not one of the most important things that will drive our economics in the future and we all agree that we need to take another look at it right now.”

Wigent said the ever-downwards trend of public school funding does not bode well for public education if something doesn’t change.