DETROIT — Private funders have contributed some $2 million
in start-up costs for the new statewide school district intended to turn around
low-performing K-12 schools, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The district, called the Education Achievement Authority, is
unique in having primarily private support, experts told the Free Press. In
future years, the district will receive per-pupil state funding for students
enrolled in its member schools, but at this point it is operating on a grant
from the California-based Broad Foundation and other private donors that state
officials declined to name, the Free Press reported.
The donations are being held by the new Michigan Education
Excellence Foundation, according to the Free Press. The authority is charged
with improving performance in Michigan’s worst schools, possibly starting with
certain Detroit Public Schools buildings in the fall of 2012, the Free Press
Mike Griffith, senior analyst with the Education Commission
of the States, said that using donated start-up funds is reasonable, given
Michigan’s economy, but that it’s not wise to rely on private donations over
the long term, the Free Press reported.
Griffith said the authority should ensure that donors do not
have influence over its operations, the Free Press reported, while Michael
Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, told the
Free Press that the new district should tell the public how the money is spent,
including the private donations.
Detroit Free Press, “Private
donors funding new statewide district for struggling schools,” Oct. 26, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Occupiers vs. Detroit’s Recovery,”
Oct. 19, 2011