Keeping Public Schools Tuition-Free

August 15, 2013

With the economic downturn and the failure of Michigan’s legislature to increase funding for public education, many school districts in the state are facing financial challenges. In 2013, the Ann Arbor Board of Education attempted to address a potential budget shortfall by charging students tuition for public schools. While the traditional high school day consists of six hours of instruction, Ann Arbor’s public schools have offered seven hours for at least a decade.

Ann Arbor’s proposed policy would charge students a fee to take a seventh hour of class, with one board member quoted as saying that in future years the school district would “go to a more robust tuition-based model.”

In August 2013, the ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit on behalf of two students challenging the new tuition policy under the Michigan Constitution’s guarantee of a “system of free public education.” Within a week of filing the case, the Board agreed to rescind the policy and keep public education free for all students.

(Coombe v. Ann Arbor Public Schools; ACLU Attorneys Kary Moss, Shana Schoem, Brooke Tucker and Michael J. Steinberg, and Law Student Intern Jackie Perlow; Cooperating Attorney Matthew Krichbaum.)

View the full 2013-2014 Legal Docket.