Writing a primer on school finance is necessarily complicated. Amassing, digesting and explaining such a wide range of technical material is possible only with the assistance of many patient, knowledgeable people. The authors would like to thank those who assisted in the research and preparation of this primer:

  • Glenda Rader, assistant director, State Aid and School Finance, Michigan Department of Education;

  • Darcy Marusich, Assessment and Certification Division, Bureau of Local Government, Michigan Department of Treasury;

  • Alison Taylor, director, Business Services, Bullock Creek School District;

  • Steve Zakem, assistant superintendent for business, Kentwood Public Schools;

  • John Schwartz, executive director, Business and Personnel Services, Royal Oak Public Schools;

  • Thomas Moline, superintendent, Royal Oak Public Schools;

  • Charles Pisoni, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Central Michigan University;

  • Gary Start, deputy superintendent, Kalamazoo Public Schools;

  • Paul Soma, chief financial officer, Traverse City Public Schools;

  • Tim Yeadon, assistant superintendent for finance, Marquette Area Public Schools;

  • Mary Ann Cleary, Michigan House Fiscal Agency;

  • Douglas Newcombe, director of finance and accounting, Bay City School District;

  • Vicki Duso, director, Finance and Instruction, Midland County Educational Service Agency;

  • Clark Volz, superintendent, Midland County Educational Service Agency;

  • Howard Heideman, administrator, Tax Analysis Division, Michigan Department of Treasury;

  • Paul Brown, Allocations, Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education;

  • Phil Boone, financial analyst, Office of State Aid and School Finance, Michigan Department of Education;

  • Patrick Dillon, assistant superintendent, Finance, Lamphere Public Schools;

  • Jayne Klein, analyst, Office of School Improvement, Michigan Department of Education; and

  • Dianne Easterling, consultant, Office of Special Education-Early Intervention Services: Finance Management, Michigan Department of Education.

Several peer reviewers generously gave us the benefit of their expertise and meticulously examined a draft of this publication:

  • Michael Williamson of School Quality Solutions, LLC, and formerly of the Michigan Department of Education;

  • Gary Wolfram, George Munson professor of political economy and professor of economics, Hillsdale College;

  • Paul Soma, chief financial officer, Traverse City Public Schools; and

  • Michael Shibler, superintendent of schools, and Michael Cuneo, assistant superintendent of finance, Rockford Public Schools.

The final version of this document reflects many of their fine suggestions and is the better for it, but the authors remain solely responsible for any errors that may remain.

Finally, we would also like thank two Mackinac Center staff who collected data from obscure sources and compiled it into an accessible format for our use: Sharon Millerwise; and Sarah Grether, who also helped prepare the electronic module described in Appendix 3.