As noted in “A Brief Overview of the Structure of Michigan’s Public School System,” The Michigan Department of Education is responsible for carrying out all the leadership powers, duties and responsibilities involved in supervision of Michigan public education,[339] including community colleges, but excluding institutions of higher education that grant baccalaureate degrees.[340] The department, however, is under the control of the Michigan Board of Education, which advises the state Legislature regarding the financial needs of Michigan public schools[341] and provides “leadership and general supervision” over Michigan’s public schools.[342] The board exercises its authority over the department through the state superintendent of public instruction, who is selected by, and serves at the pleasure of, the board.[343]

The Michigan Department of Education also oversees the Michigan Schools for the Deaf and Blind. The Michigan School for the Deaf is located in Flint and is described by a state Web site as a “public residential school for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing established by an Act of the Michigan Legislature in 1848. Students are referred by their local school districts. ...”[344] The Michigan School for the Blind, in contrast, works with the Department of Education’s outreach programs for children with uncommon learning challenges (“low incidence outreach”), according to a Michigan Department of Education Web site.[345]

Total revenues for operating the Michigan Department of Education in fiscal 2007 are $90,665,100. Three-quarters of that revenue is federal money, of which about 22 percent is for school improvement services, 18 percent is for educational assessment and accountability, and 16 percent is for special education support services.[346]

Graphic 22: Appropriation for the Michigan Department of Education by Area, Fiscal 2007

Graphic 22 - click to enlarge