By ISAAC CONSTANS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget pledged more state money to education, but that doesn’t apply to all schools. Under Snyder’s proposal, online charter school funding would be reduced to 80 percent of the per-pupil subsidy that physical schools receive. About $22 million would be transferred from publicly funded cyber schools to conventional brick-and-mortar institutes, a foundation grant exchange that has created controversy among Michigan educators.
“The notion is, does it cost the same when someone is taking a class virtually compared to someone who is taking a class in a brick-and-mortar school?” Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston said in explaining the rationale for the funding differences. Virtual schools are publicly funded online charter institutes that have so far been funded using the same per-pupil formula as traditional schools, despite not having physical spaces to maintain, cafeterias to run or the responsibility to provide extracurricular resources such as transportation.