14 school district leaders gather to discuss funding

Copper Country ISD-Hancock

HOUGHTON — It was all about education today in Hancock. More than a dozen superintendents from area schools gathered to meet with two Michigan lawmakers. They wanted to know if students are getting enough funding from Lansing.

Administrators from the Hancock and Houghton area are gathered at the Copper Country ISD to talk about students and cash. Two Michigan legislators, State Rep. Gregory Markkanen and Senator Ed McBroom are on hand to hear and address concerns from the classroom.

Markkanen is on the Education committee and says, “We’re talking with superintendents from across the Copper Country getting their concerns about the budget and listening to their concerns.”

14 districts are represented including Houghton, Hancock, L’Anse, and Calumet. They are broken up into two workshops and the meetings main focus is on funding and mental health. This gathering comes after budget cuts in Lansing forced changes to many different areas of the state. The congressmen are here to find out if money is being spent in the best way.

Senator Ed McBroom says, “Getting those specific data points helps me then during the budgetary process to advocate for schools in this area.”

These administrators in attendance represent just over six thousand students area wide. One of the biggest issues they face is funding. Almost every single school in the state is based on a per pupil funding formula with various other small amounts of money that come in for special things.

Both men say this past budget increased funding on a per pupil basis for schools across the state. The question now is if the increase was enough to keep up with inflation, the cost of living, and busing. Our area in particular uses more money to bus students than other parts of the state.

From here the lawmakers will take the input from teachers and superintendents back to Lansing and let them know what’s working and what needs to be addressed.