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New Legislation Brings Opportunity for Charter Schools

February 28, 2018

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed a new law allowing Michigan charter schools a share of millage revenue. This change will give them the same per-pupil funding as public schools and a portion of property tax revenue.

Historically, charter school educators have not received the same level of benefits as traditional public schools. This added investment will help recruit educators and increase teacher satisfaction and retention in the charter school system.

Prior to this legislation, charter schools within district boundaries were not eligible to benefit from over $100 million in regional enhancement millages to help fund local public schools. According to a 2018 Mackinac Center report, Michigan charter schools received 20 percent less funding per pupil than traditional public schools.

This first step toward equal support provides self-managed charter schools the community support and government funding needed to enhance classrooms, school security, arts, technology, and reading initiatives, as well as helping with teachers’ salaries, benefits, and retirement plans.

Managed or partially managed schools use management companies to establish curriculum, hire teachers and staff, human resources, marketing, and custodial services or a mix of some services. Self-managed schools don’t use a management company for any services.

According to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, 10 percent of all students in the state are enrolled in a charter school. Charter schools provide quality and choice in educational experiences for teachers, parents, and students and with more Michigan families selecting this option, this law is a direct reflection of a trend toward more acceptance of this educational format.

A common misconception about the new law – and generally – is that for-profit management companies will benefit from millages. It’s true that a large number of charter schools have for-profit management companies, but more operate with non-profit management firms or are completely self-managed.

These schools, like traditional public schools, engage “for-profit” companies to outsource their janitorial services, bus transportation companies, cafeteria food services, substitute teacher management and more to stay within their budgets. By working with third-party companies to handle these elements of their operations, charters schools can better manage their costs freeing up more capital to invest in the classrooms, while ensuring their vendors meet the needs and goals of their institutions.

AccessPoint has been offering Educational HR for charter schools since 1998 and currently serves 24 schools in Michigan. This model provides an incredible value as mission critical HR services can be provided at a cost lower than hiring an HR professional to join the school’s staff. Programs and services like AccessPoints’ help ensure that public funding, including new millages, will be invested wisely creating the best value for our students.