As mentioned previously, Michigan law currently permits very limited choice between
traditional public schools. Under legislation adopted in 1996, parents may send their
children to any school within an intermediate school district, provided that the school
district which contains the desired school has elected to accept such students. State
funding will follow the child to the school of choice, thereby creating incentive for
schools to satisfy parents and students.
However, parents who choose to send their children to a public school outside their
intermediate school district may be required to pay tuition to the receiving school if the
home school superintendent refuses to release to the school the state funding that would
normally follow the student. This creates a financial disincentive for choice that not all
parents are able to overcome.
This problem may be solved in one of two ways. A simple solution would be to allow the
state foundation grant to follow the student to whichever public school he or she attends,
without requiring permission of the home school district superintendent. A second solution
would be to provide a tuition voucher or a tax credit to parents who find themselves
having to pay tuition to an alternative public school.
Choice among alternative government schools could also be enhanced by lifting the cap
on the number of charter schools and by reducing the regulations that make it difficult to
start and operate a new school.