04 Oct State Budget Cuts Slash Funds for Charter Schools
State budget cuts have slashed funding to students in charter schools.
As it stands now, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan slices $240 in per pupil funding for those in charter schools. Nearly 10% of Michigan’s children go to charter schools.
The cuts are a huge blow to the Old Mission Peninsula School, which is only in its second year of operation.
“That’s significant, we are definitely a startup, there are institutional components we need to procure still,” said Old Mission Peninsula head of school Rick Couturier. “I am a little disappointed [budget cuts] have targeted the charter school community.”
His school is just getting off the ground.
Traverse City Area Public Schools used to operate that campus, but shut it down in 2015. The Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation then bought the school for more than $1 million and turned it into a charter school
The school opened up for the 2018-2019 school year inviting students from the peninsula and beyond.
Enrollment is up more than 30% and now administrators are thinking about adding more grade levels, if they have enough funds.
“We have seen significant growth in the Kindergarten to fourth grade range which is really what we want. That is going to help us sustain in our growth,” said Couturier. “It would be really nice to expand our building.”
But state cuts may stand in the way.
Faith and Mark Van Vliet have grandchildren at the school and wonder how this will hurt their learning.
“$240 seems like it would be impactful in terms of the quality of education,” said Mark.
“It’s a shame. It’s a shame that these kids have to suffer,” said Faith.
For now, the school says they will just have to move forward. Couturier says he is hopeful negotiations will return funds to the school.