Declining enrollment across the state, combined with funding cuts passed earlier this year by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature, have left Michigan schools struggling to figure out how they're going to pay for programs and the staff to run them. Teachers in West Michigan are the latest to try to do their part to help preserve as much as possible by agreeing to what are being called "unprecedented" concessions at the end of last week. They are only the latest batch of educators and administrators to do so, as school districts try to hold on to essential programs and younger teachers rather than lay them off.
Here are some of the numbers related to Michigan's education funding issues.
61: The percentage of Michigan's school districts who showed declining enrollment between fiscal year 1995 and fiscal year 2009.
551: The number of traditional school districts in the state.
1: The number of states in the U.S. that had a population decline over the last decade. Michigan stands alone on that count.
2: The percentage of population lost in the Upper Peninsula alone in the last 10 years.
8: The percentage drop in enrollment in Michigan public schools over the last decade.
300: The amount, in dollars, that the governor and the state legislature additionally cut per-student funding by for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, over and above what was already scheduled.
470: The amount, in dollars, that school districts stand to lose in per-student funding from the state for this school year.
6,846: The amount, in dollars, that is allocated to school districts for each student enrolled during the 2011-2012 school year.
7,316: The amount, in dollars, of per-student funding allocated by the state in the 2008-2009 school year.
100: The amount, in dollars, that school districts can "earn" back in state funding if they meet certain best practices laid out by Gov. Snyder and the Legislature.
4 out of 5: The number of those best practices a school district must implement if they want to earn back some of the lost state funding.
0: The percentage pay increase most of Michigan's teachers and administrators have already voted to accept for this school year. In some districts, the wage freeze has been sanctioned for two years.
10: The average minimum percentage increase in health insurance premiums that most Michigan teachers and administrators have agreed to pay in addition to previous costs.
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.