As election season in Michigan continues to approach, voters are wondering where the gubernatorial candidates stand on key issues. With Republican candidate Tudor Dixon identifying education as one of her top priorities going into the election, Michiganders are beginning to question her record and stance on public school policy.
Earlier this year, Dixon noted her support for the use of public funds to subsidize private school tuition, a policy that would currently be considered unconstitutional in the state, and as it stands would only impact nine percent of the state’s students. A similar referendum on the use of public funds for private schools was held in 2000 and rejected by voters 69% – 31%, suggesting that the policy is not popular among Michiganders.
The policy, which is famously supported by one of her key endorsers and funders, former US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, would siphon up to $500 million annually out of the public school system. Speaking in an interview for Michigan Radio, Dixon remarked that she believes in the idea of state dollars being used to fund private education for Michigan children. Dixon also noted that the Supreme Court ruling allowing state funds to go to religious private schools created “an opportunity” for the state of Michigan.
Beyond that, Dixon’s proposed tax plan would eliminate $12 billion from the state’s coffers. A move that experts have said could result in a $3.5 billion decrease in the state’s school aid fund, the primary method for funding public schools.
At the same time as she’s proposing a large decrease in the amount public schools receive, she’s pushed for a sizable portion of remaining public school funds to go toward funding private education. A position that has raised some skepticism surrounding her support for Michigan’s public schools.
With education a top issue in the state, voters will take these positions into consideration when they face the ballot boxes on November 8th to decide the next governor of Michigan.