Contents of this issue:


  • State to take financial control of DPS
  • Freeze-for-MESSA in Walled Lake
  • Lansing enrollment down by 688
  • Wind technology on tap in Warren
  • Judge nixes e-mail release

STATE TO TAKE FINANCIAL CONTROL OF DPS


DETROIT - An emergency manager will take financial control of Detroit Public Schools following the district's failure to meet the terms of an agreement outlining how it will resolve a $400 million deficit, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The district has 10 days to appeal the decision by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, who found that budget documents DPS officials submitted to the state were inaccurate and incomplete, according to the Free Press. The district also failed to provide the state, as required by the consent agreement, a resolution giving Superintendent Connie Calloway the authority to implement a deficit reduction plan without further involvement by the school board, the Free Press reported.

"The schoolchildren of Detroit are being deeply affected academically by the chronic inability of the district to manage its finances," Flanagan said.

Calloway said in a statement, "We will discuss this matter with the Detroit Board of Education and determine the appropriate next steps," the Free Press reported. Board President Carla Scott said that there was no intent not to meet the terms of the agreement.

Flanagan said the Detroit board will continue to control educational matters, but that the emergency manager will be in charge of the budget and financial systems, according to the Free Press.

SOURCE:
The Detroit Free Press, "State to take over Detroit Public Schools' finances," Dec. 8, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS: Agreement in lieu of takeover," Nov. 3, 2008


FREEZE-FOR-MESSA IN WALLED LAKE


WALLED LAKE, Mich. - Walled Lake Consolidated Schools teachers will pay higher deductibles while retaining health insurance through the Michigan Education Special Services Association under the terms of a new, three-year contract, according to the C&G News. They also will share in any increased costs to the district for health insurance overall, the News reported.

The contract establishes a salary freeze for the first year and 1 percent salary increases in the next two years, according to the News.

"Salary, with the economical times, we knew that we weren't going to get everything. It's a give-and-take process. So, membership gave us our marching orders to maintain MESSA, and that's what we were able to do," Chriss Golden, president of the Walled Lake Education Association, told the News.

Superintendent Bill Hamilton told the News that the contract agreement will not require dipping into fund equity.

"One thing that we're going to be very pleased about is this contract will prevent us from having to make cuts next year," Hamilton said.

SOURCE:
C&G Newspapers, "Walled Lake ratifies three-year teacher contract," Dec. 5, 2008 

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Health insurance: Reformed, but not resolved," Sept. 16, 2008


LANSING ENROLLMENT DOWN BY 688


LANSING, Mich. - Enrollment in the Lansing School District dropped twice as much as expected this year, meaning a corresponding decline in per-pupil state aid of up to $3 million, the Lansing State Journal reported.

District officials had projected a 300-student drop, but the actual number was 688, the State Journal reported, putting enrollment at 14,569. School officials said they plan to use money from the general fund balance and the facilities improvement budget to cover some of the anticipated loss, as well as reduce non-student supply expenditures, according to the State Journal.

Superintendent T.C. Wallace Jr. said that about 579 of the students moved out of the Lansing tri-county area, including 221 who left the state, the State Journal reported, a tally based on requests for transfer of records.

In other nearby districts, the State Journal reported that Haslett Public Schools enrollment declined by 130 students, Waverly Community Schools by 166 and DeWitt Public Schools by 27.

SOURCE:
The Lansing State Journal, "Lansing schools lose 688 students," Dec. 5, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Enrollment down, charters and choice up," Sept. 29, 2008


WIND TECHNOLOGY ON TAP IN WARREN


WARREN, Mich. - A turbine windmill will be installed at the Butcher Educational Center in Warren Consolidated Schools as part of a new focus on energy management and renewable energy education, according to the Advisor & Source.

The school board has established a Renewable Energy Institute that will manage and track energy consumption, develop a K-12 energy conservation curriculum and provide staff training and awareness, the Advisor & Source reported. The board is buying the Windspire windmill from Southern Exposure Renewable Energy Co., which distributes the vertical axis windmills for Nevada- based Mariah Power.

Students and staff from the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center and the Career Preparation Center will use it to conduct research, according to the Advisor & Source.

SOURCE:
The Advisor & Source, "WCS creates Renewable Energy Institute," Nov. 30, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Huron County teachers win DTE Energy grants," March 11, 2008


JUDGE NIXES E-MAIL RELEASE


WAYNE, Mich. - A Wayne County judge has blocked the release of teacher union e-mails as requested by a nonprofit organization, ruling that the Wayne-Westland Education Association could face "irreparable harm" by the move.

The organization, Muskegon-based Education Action Group, said it requested the e-mails through the Freedom of Information Act as part of its study of the links between teacher unions and school board recalls in Michigan. The e-mails were written by WWEA President Nancy Strachan using a taxpayer-funded school e-mail account.

The WWEA filed a motion to prevent the release, which Circuit Court Judge Kathleen MacDonald granted on Dec. 3. Another hearing is scheduled Jan. 12.

Two board members have been named for recall in the district; the parent who filed the recall petitions said the effort is "parent-based."

SOURCE:
Michigan Education Report, "Judge nixes e-mail release," Dec. 9, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Teachers strike, students sent home," Oct. 6, 2008


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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