State spending on private students up 51 percent in 3 years

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A new report says Michigan spent $86 million last academic year to help educate private students in kindergarten through 12th grades, a 51 percent increase from three years before.

The figure was reported Tuesday by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. It's about $29 million more than was spent in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Michigan has a "shared time" arrangement that provides extra state aid to public schools that enroll nonpublic students in non-core, elective classes.

The number of shared time students last year was 11,300, a fraction of Michigan's 1.4 million public students. There were 7,700 such students three years ago.

Craig Thiel, senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council, says shared time instruction has seen "prodigious" growth at the same time public school enrollment is decreasing.

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