Jacques: Get ready to spend more to support schools

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Let me predict the future. Michigan will soon be on the hook for giving schools more money. And if they don’t get it, the state can expect lawsuits.

That’s because sometime next spring, the results of a state approved adequacy study will come out. And there’s little doubt the company expected to do the research will recommend anything but more money. The study is supposed to determine whether the state is providing schools with enough funding.

Last week, a five-member committee working under the Department of Technology, Management and Budget chose Denver-based Augenblick, Palaich and Associates — one of three bidders competing for the job. The State Administrative Board will review the choice Sept. 30, but it’s unlikely they’ll change course.

APA specializes in adequacy studies, and the dozen reports they’ve done in other states have consistently found that a lack of spending is the problem.

Two other qualified firms bid on the job, including Michigan-based Anderson Economic Group. But the legislation calling for the study, pushed then by Rep. Brandon Dillon —now chair of the state Democratic Party — was written so specifically that only APA scored high enough to get the bid.

Republicans agreed to the study late last year, to gain support for a road funding ballot proposal. They should have read the fine print of the bill, however. Because now, given the repercussions in other states, this study will lead directly to more of a taxpayer burden.