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Michigan school districts

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K-12 Education in Michigan
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Michael Flanagan
Number of students: 1,573,537[1]
Number of teachers: 86,997
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:18.1
Number of school districts: 869
Number of schools: 3,550
Graduation rate: 76%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $10,823[3]
See also
Michigan Department of EducationList of school districts in MichiganMichiganSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Michigan
Glossary of education terms

Michigan is home to 869 school districts, 3,550 schools and 1,573,537 K-12 students.

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[4]
    • John C. Austin (D), President
    • Casandra E. Ulbrich (D), Vice President
    • Daniel Varner (D), Secretary
    • Dr. Richard Zeile (R), Treasurer
    • Michelle Fecteau (D)
    • Lupe Ramos-Montigny (D)
    • Kathleen N. Straus (D)
    • Eileen Weiser (R)


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.[5][6]

Student enrollment Per-pupil spending
1.) Detroit 1.) Bois Blanc Pines
2.) Utica 2.) Elm River Township
3.) Plymouth-Canton 3.) Grant Township
4.) Dearborn 4.) Arvon Township
5.) Grand Rapids 5.) Beaver Island
6.) Ann Arbor 6.) Northport
7.) Chippewa Valley 7.) Whitefish Township
8.) San Bernardino City Unified 8.) Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy
9.) Walled Lake 9.) Powell Township
10.) Livonia 10.) Wells Township


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Michigan as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[7]

Demographic information for Michigan's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 12,183 0.77% 1.10%
Asian 42,827 2.72% 4.68%
African American 296,124 18.82% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 1,347 0.09% 0.42%
Hispanic 97,494 6.20% 24.37%
White 1,088,587 69.18% 51.21%
Two or more 34,975 2.22% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States who are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

Detroit emergency manager

On March 2, 2009, then-Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Robert Bobb to the position of Detroit Public Schools' emergency manager under Public Act 72 of 1990. He was initially appointed to serve a one-year term in order to address the district's legacy budget deficit, which was projected to reach $305.8 million in June 2009. As the emergency manager, Bobb created an internal audit department, led an enrollment drive and advocated for a successful $500.5 million bond issue to build and modernize 18 schools in the district.[8] However, the projected deficit in 2011 was still $327 million.[9]

In May 2011, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Roy Roberts to the position of emergency manager after Bobb's contract expired.[10] During his time as the emergency manager, Roberts enforced two consecutive balanced budgets and reduced the size of the legacy deficit from $327 million to $72 million, partially through selling more than $200 million in bonds.[11] Enrollment fell sharply from approximately 74,000 students in 2011 to 51,979 students in 2013, although a significant portion of this decline could be attributed to the removal of 15 district schools and nearly 10,000 students to a new state reform district in 2012.[12]

Governor Snyder appointed Jack Martin to the position of emergency manager on July 15, 2013 after Roy Roberts chose to leave the position once his contract expired. Prior to serving in this position, Martin spent more than 40 years as a Certified Public Accountant and served as the emergency manager for Highland Park City Schools in 2012 and as the chief financial officer of the city of Detroit. Roy Roberts expressed support for Martin's appointment, and Martin stated that he would pursue a similar deficit reduction path to the one laid out by Roberts.[13][14] In November 2013, the Michigan Department of Education removed the federal High Risk status from Detroit Public Schools, thereby granting the district "an incremental level of independence in its financial and administrative functions."[15]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Michigan State Board of Education adopted the standards on June 15, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2012-2013 academic year.[16][17]

School board composition

Michigan school board members for local school districts are elected by residents of the school district. Only four school boards for intermediate school districts are elected. All other intermediate school district boards are made up of representatives selected by local board members within the intermediate district. Michigan school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • District: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.

School boards typically consist of seven members, although there are exceptions. School board members serve four-year or six-year terms, depending on the district.[18]

District types

Michigan contains two types of school districts. Local districts are traditional districts limited to a single community, such as a township or city. Intermediate districts operate at the county or multi-county level, and they primarily exist to provide specialized support services to local school districts.[19]

Term limits

Michigan does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.[20]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Michigan school board elections, 2015

No Michigan school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment are holding elections in 2015.

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Michigan, a person must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A registered voter in the school district at the time of the filing deadline

The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing a nominating petition and affidavit with the school district filing official before the close of business on the 15th Tuesday preceding the election. The number of signatures required for the nominating petition is dependent on the population in the school district at the time of the most recent federal census. If the population is less than 10,000, the minimum number of signatures is six and the maximum is 20. If the population is 10,000 or greater, the minimum number of signatures is 40 and the maximum is 100. A candidate can also pay a nonrefundable $100 filing fee to the school district filing official to get on the ballot instead of filing nominating petitions. Candidates may withdraw from the ballot only if they sign and submit a written withdrawal notice to the school district filing official before the close of business on the third day after the candidacy filing deadline.[21]

Local school board elections are held biennially on the first Tuesday that follows the first Monday in November on even-numbered years.[18]

Campaign finance

Michigan requires all school board candidates running in districts with 2,401 or more students to file campaign finance reports. If a district contains 2,400 or fewer students, school board candidates are not required to file campaign finance reports unless they receive or spend more than $1,000 during the election cycle.

Candidates are prohibited from receiving contributions from corporations or labor organizations. Within 10 days of becoming a candidate, candidates must form a candidate committee. Following the creation of the committee, candidates have an additional 10 days to register the committee with the school district filing official by filing a statement of organization. A candidate committee that does not expect to receive or spend more than $1,000 during the election cycle is eligible to receive a reporting waiver, which allows that committee not to file pre-election, post-election and annual campaign statements without legal penalty.[22]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Michigan Department of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed June 13, 2014
  5. Michigan Department of Education, "2011-12 BULLETIN 1014," accessed August 5, 2013
  6. Center for Educational Performance and Information, "2012-13 Pupil Headcount Data (MSDS)," accessed August 6, 2013
  7. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Bobb
  9. The Wall Street Journal, "Detroit Plan Makes Big Charter School Bet," March 14, 2011
  10. Crain's Detroit Business, "Former GM exec Roy Roberts to succeed Robert Bobb as Detroit schools' financial manager," May 5, 2011
  11. Detroit Public Schools, "Roy Roberts Biography," accessed February 3, 2014
  12. Detroit Free Press, "Detroit schools' progress cited as emergency manager Roy Roberts announces his exit," May 2, 2013
  13. Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Snyder names Jack Martin to replace Roy Roberts as DPS emergency manager," July 15, 2013
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Martin
  15. Detroit Public Schools, "Michigan Department of Education Removes High Risk Designation from Detroit Schools," November 18, 2013
  16. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  17. Michigan Department of Education, "Common Core State Academic Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 Michigan Association of School Boards, "Elections and Local Control," accessed July 9, 2014
  19. Michigan Association of School Boards, "Your Local School Board," accessed July 9, 2014
  20. National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 8, 2014
  21. Michigan Legislative Council, "Michigan Election Law (Excerpt), Act 116 of 1954 - Chapter XIV, School and Community College Elections," accessed July 9, 2014
  22. Genesee County, "Filing Requirements under Michigan's Campaign Finance Act," February 7, 2014