Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation Mission: Fostering investment in innovative educational opportunities to benefit the students of Farmington Public Schools through: Opportunities for learners of all levels to use TECHNOLOGY. SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENT supporting the continuing growth of academic choices and resources. THE ARTS providing experiences and programs to enhance fine and performing arts. EXTRACURRICULAR ENRICHMENT provides learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
The road to a local education foundation...
In 1994, funding for Michigan public schools changed dramatically with the passage of Proposal A, which transferred local control of school funding to the Michigan Legislature. Overnight, the predominant source of revenue for public schools became the per pupil foundation amount established by the state legislature each year. The goal of Proposal A was in part to equalize funding across the state. Reductions to the gap made the most progress between 1995 and 2000 when the Michigan economy was booming and the per pupil foundational allowance of previously lower funded districts were increased.
Under a struggling Michigan economy, the per pupil foundational amount for Farmington Public Schools has trailed inflation, and the current per pupil foundation grant, adjusted for inflation, is below our 1995 level. It should also be noted, that since 1995, local school districts are responsible for employer contributions to state health care and retirement plans without receiving additional foundational amounts to cover these expenses.
Michigan’s faltering economy and reduced state funding has put extreme financial pressure on public schools across Michigan. Since 2004, as Michigan’s economy has declined, the state has three times issued mid-year executive order cuts in school funding. Starting in 2010, a dangerous precedent was set when the School Aid Fund was used to balance the overall state budget. This same year, many districts, including Farmington Public Schools, lost its “hold harmless” (20j) funding promised under Proposal A. In 2011 the School Aid Fund, historically used for K-12 funding only, was used to fund community colleges and universities, further reducing the District’s per pupil allowance. Adequate and consistent funding is one of the the greatest challenges impacting Farmington Public Schools’ ability to continue to support and enhance its outstanding educational programs.
Educational foundations like ours have been developed in thousands of communities across the country, and they are playing an increasingly important role in shaping educational opportunities in dozens of communities in Michigan. Now is the time for the Farmington/Farmington Hills community to directly respond to the increasing and pressing demands of today’s students in our local schools. With the support of our community, we can better meet the challenges created by the changes to school funding.
In June 2012, a group of about 25 community members came together to form the Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation (FFHEF.) FFHEF is committed to providing additional learning opportunities to students from pre-school through graduation to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in school and in the global marketplace. Receiving the best possible education is essential to preparing our children to live in a fast-paced, rapidly changing world. Our students live in a world where technology is outdated almost as soon as it is introduced, and “learning to learn” is one of the most important skills students can master. The foundation looks to Inspire*Innovate*Invest in our students and with the continued support of our business and community we are accomplishing those goals in big and small ways. The Foundation’s focus is on encouraging excellence through creative teaching, facilitating student development and promoting community/school partnerships. We want to provide inventive and creative educational opportunities for teaching and learning not covered by normal school budgets. Our board has targeted four areas of focus for funding:
TECHNOLOGIES…provide opportunities for learners at all levels to gain technology knowledge.
SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVEMENTS… support the continuing growth of academic curriculum choices and resources for our students.
THE ARTS…provides experiences and programs in the fine and performing arts that will enhance opportunities for student in the arts, as well as promote lifelong enjoyment of the arts for students, faculty, and the community at large
EXTRACURRICULAR ENRICHMENT…provides experiences beyond classroom learning that expose students to the rich, diverse and unique assets of our community.