A Project of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Michigan’s state and local governments have a special responsibility to the state’s residents. Unlike private groups and individuals, who have privacy rights, governments have an obligation to disclose their actions and expenditures, since the authority to tax and compel obedience must be premised on the government’s remaining a servant of the people, and therefore accountable to them.


 

Praise for projects of the Mackinac Center’s MichiganTransparency.org

For the School Checkbook Transparency Project

"As part of its celebration of Sunshine Week, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is launching an initiative aiming 'to open up the check registers of Michigan’s public school districts and place them in a comprehensible form on the Internet.' While we have not always agreed with some of the positions of the conservative think tank, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy should be praised for its efforts."
— Royal Oak Daily Tribune editorial, March 24, 2008

For the School Collective Bargaining Agreements Project

"I do want to express my thanks for providing such a resource. Sometimes neighboring districts are not as forthcoming as I would hope, so this will help us as we bargain."
— Mike Gaunt, Superintendent, Chassell Township Schools

 

"I want to thank you and your staff for the work in assembling the bargaining resources now available on your site. They will indeed help those of us responsible for negotiating future agreements."
— Peter Haines, Superintendent, Greenville Public Schools

"This is great stuff. It will be very useful during negotiations time."
— Alison Taylor, Director,
Business Services,
Bullock Creek School District

 

The "Show Michigan the Money" Project

State Government Transparency

Michigan Secretary of State Quarterly Expenditure Reports
The Michigan Department of State is now posting detailed quarterly expenditure reports.

Request to Governor’s Office for Quarterly Expenditure Reports

More state government transparency resources

Mackinac Center Resources

Michigan School District Revenue and Expenditure Report
Get revenue and spending data for Michigan public school districts as reported by the state Department of Education.
Michigan School District Categorical Grant Report
Get categorical grant data for Michigan public school districts as reported by the state Department of Education.
School District Checkbook Register Report
View detailed expenditure reports from the growing number of Michigan school districts that have made their "checkbook registers" available to the public.

Other MichiganTransparency.org Resources

Michigan School District Collective Bargaining Agreements
View each Michigan school district's collective bargaining agreements with teacher and school employee unions.
MichiganVotes.org
This is Michigan's Legislature made easy. Search legislation; check lawmakers' voting records; view campaign contributions; and get e-mail updates on bills of interest.

Other Transparency Sites

The Lansing State Journal’s State of Michigan Salary Search
This newspaper Web site provides state employees' salaries.
Michigan Merit Exam Scores
This newspaper Web site provides 2008 MME scores for all schools.

 

Other Resources on the Functions of Government

 

A Michigan School Money Primer

Michigan’s state and local school finance system is complex and frequently misunderstood, yet it remains critical to evaluating school and tax policy. “A Michigan School Money Primer” is a comprehensive, plain-language introductory text with one goal: explaining the system to interested residents, new school officials, policymakers and media professionals alike.

Since its publication in 2007, the book has been stocked by more than 60 Michigan public libraries, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Instructors have requested copies of the primer for graduate-level courses at Eastern Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.

Praise for "A Michigan School Money Primer"

“‘A Michigan School Money Primer’ is an excellent resource for anyone interested in a thorough review of Michigan school funding. I find the publication useful in my role as a school finance administrator as it provides historical context, detailed calculations and examples, and comprehensive coverage of school finance. I’ve also found the book useful in a graduate course I teach in school finance as students are able to dig deeper into a subject to obtain additional information on a specific topic.”
— Timothy Raymer, 2007 Michigan School Business Official of the Year, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Forest Hills Public Schools, Adjunct Instructor Grand Valley State University

“Reporters are entering the field, in some cases, without even a basic understanding of auditing, budgeting and taxation. A few years back, I asked a prospective reporter to define a mill as used in property taxation. He thought about it for about 30 seconds and told me it was the clearinghouse for property tax collection!

“It is difficult and time-consuming to teach reporters how to deal with audits, budgets and millages. Thanks to the primer, my job just got easier. It will be required reading for members of the editorial staff.”
— Holly Nelson, Oscoda Press

“‘A Michigan School Money Primer’ was very helpful to me while writing my newspaper stories regarding school financing. The Michigan public needs to know the eye-opening information that is in this book! It is a complete and understandable resource that is useful on many levels.”
— Donna Gundle-Krieg, Journalist