Although a a full explanation of district accounting and reporting is beyond the scope of this primer, we will give the reader a general idea of how to read reports of Michigan school districts’ spending, as well as a general breakdown of major spending categories. “Bulletin 1011: Analysis of Michigan Public School Districts’ Revenues and Expenditures” is published annually and assesses school fiscal data from two years before the current fiscal year. This publication groups conventional school districts and charter schools by enrollment size and reports on subcategories of income and spending. The report is available online as a PDF or as a database file.
The state Department of Education produces another annual report in the same year as the Bulletin 1011: “Bulletin 1014: Michigan Public School Districts Ranked by Selected Financial Data.” Bulletin 1014 provides general fund per-pupil revenue from local, state and federal sources and general fund per-pupil expenditures for instructional programs, including basic programs and instructional salaries. Bulletin 1014 also includes data on current operating expenditures, average teacher salaries, district taxable value and per-student spending for support services like operations and maintenance. The publication is available as hard copy, as a PDF or in a database version.
The Michigan Department of Education annually files the data used to generate these reports with the U.S. Department of Education in the “National Public Education Finance Survey.” The state’s detailed dataset is available in a PDF on the state Department of Education’s Web site. We have also made the dataset available on the Web in a more easily accessible format. Please see “Appendix 3: Guide to a New School Finance Electronic Module” for more information.