Pickering also provides presentations to various parties interested in public education. Here are some excerpts:
1. Funding has increased annually since FY2012 as follows (rounded):
• FY 2013 $34.7 million
• FY 2014 $53.0 million
• FY 2015 $95.7 million
• FY 2016 (estimate) $105.2 million
2. MEAP is plagued by flawed data inputs, inadequate verification, obsolete definitions of need and non-targeted spending.
3. With the MAEP formula, there is no guarantee that funds are being used where they are needed — in the classroom. The MDE board and MDE (through regulations and statute) have the authority to enforce and direct but so far have not done so publicly.
If MAEP is to be properly funded, the basis and accuracy of verified data upon which it is formed and how it is managed is essential. More funding may be needed, but the above-mentioned factors also require attention.
It would be wise for MDE and the Legislature to heed the research and reporting of Pickering and the professionals in the auditor’s office.