Abstract: The Michigan legislature determines the annual pupil foundation allowance based on available revenues and not on research. As a result of the school reform movement of the 1990\'s to increase academic standards and the complete overhaul of funding schools in Michigan under Proposal A, the state legislature needs to be able to determine the cost of an adequate education for students to meet state standards for achievement on the MEAP. The purpose of the study was to estimate the total cost of adequacy in Michigan. The \"exemplary/successful school district\" costing-out model and an education production function was utilized to determine an estimated level of funding required to educate students to state proficiency standards and to test how sensitive the selection of the \"model\" exemplary district can be on total costs to the State. Regression analysis found the following ten variables were significant in identifying an \"exemplary\" district: Economically disadvantaged, Special Education, African American, Class Size, Highly Qualified, Current Operating Expenditures per pupil, and Geographic Location. Fourteen exemplary districts and seventy-two marginally exemplary districts were identified. A selection of exemplary districts was chosen as possible model districts for the sensitivity analyses. The results demonstrated the extraordinary range in estimated adequacy costs of twenty-five million to eight billion dollars to the state. When determining if educational adequacy should be explored in Michigan, policymakers will need to understand that the selection of an acceptable exemplary model district is extremely sensitive; the range of potential total costs is extreme and clearly dependent on the model district selected. Ultimately, decisions regarding improving achievement for all students may be based more on political will rather than research.
Keywords: Costing-out study,Educational adequacy,Exemplary school model,Exemplary schools,Michigan, School finance