Two elementary schools in Livonia will close next school year. The Livonia school board voted this week to shutter Cass Elementary School and Garfield Elementary School for the 2017-2018 school year, saying the move would save the district about $800,000 a year. The district faces a multi-million dollar deficit and declining enrollment.
Bob Kittle is president and CEO of the Auburn Hills-based school data company Munetrix LLC, which has tracked Livonia schools’ enrollment over several years.
Kittle tells WDET’s Jake Neher the closures highlight much larger problems with Michigan’s school funding system.
“Every district across the state, quite frankly, has fewer students today than they had last year than they had in the last decade,” says Kittle. ”And since the majority of funding for school districts comes on a per-pupil basis, less kids means less revenue.”
“We have to look at the school funding formula,” he says. ”We have to look at Proposal A and (the Headlee Amendment to the state constitution), because that’s not just a school district issue. That’s more a local government issue as well, and these guys are starving right now.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.