Contents of this issue:
- Detroit Public Schools loses more students than projected
- Muskegon Public Schools considers international charter
- Alternative school meets goals despite funding cuts
- Suttons Bay concerned about American Indian achievement gap
- Berkley renews schools of choice program participation
- Comment and win an iPod
DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS LOSES MORE STUDENTS THAN PROJECTED
DETROIT — More than 7,400 students have fled the Detroit Public Schools in the past year, according to The Detroit News.
Enrollment in the district has dropped to 104,975, down from 112,437 in September 2006. DPS anticipated a loss of 5,000 students when calculating this year's $1.2 billion budget and is preparing to reduce expenditures to balance it, The News reported. The loss of students means a difference of about $71 million.
"We've done a pretty decent job in trying to be as lean as we can," Board Vice President Joyce Hayes-Giles, who chairs the school board's finance committee, told The News. "Now we'll have to tighten our belt some more and figure out where the reductions come from."
In addition to the loss of foundation allowance, the district is becoming increasingly concerned about its enrollment shrinking to less than 100,000 students, at which point more charter public schools are allowed to be established and compete with the district for students, according to The News.
The Detroit News, "DPS expects $71M loss," Nov. 16, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Pupil Counts," in "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007
MUSKEGON PUBLIC SCHOOLS CONSIDERS INTERNATIONAL CHARTER
MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon city school district is looking for community input as it works to formalize plans for an international elementary and middle charter school, according to The Muskegon Chronicle.
The proposed public school will be planned by the Michigan Coalition of Essential Schools, a non-profit organization specializing in school improvement. The district will then provide oversight and daily management for the school, The Chronicle reported.
The initial plans for the K-8 school include an elementary school which offers immersion learning in both English and Spanish, while using International Baccalaureate curriculum for middle school students. School officials are excited about the plans, but want to do their best to make sure they are meeting the needs of parents, according to The Chronicle.
"We need to understand what our community expects of us," Superintendent Colin Armstrong told The Chronicle. "We need to come up with the idea ... and they need to tell us did we come up with the right idea and if not, what direction should we be heading."
The Muskegon Chronicle, "Forums will seek community input on International School," Nov. 15, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Dearborn: A Traditional Public School District Accepts the Charter School Challenge," in "The Impact of Limited School Choice on Public School Districts," June 24, 2000
ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL MEETS GOALS DESPITE FUNDING CUTS
BESSEMER, Mich. — An Ironwood alternative school has met all of its academic goals, despite losing a major portion of its funding last year, according to the Ironwood Daily Globe.
The school reduced its staff after the federal Even Start Family Literacy Program grant, a program to provide adult education for parents with young children, was cut for schools across the country. Although the school saw a loss in revenue, it is still able to offer services for alternative high school students, basic adult education, general equivalency diploma completion and other basic life skill education, the Daily Globe reported.
According to an informal survey of students who completed the high school program or received their GED, all of the students who were surveyed were either attending college or employed. The staff at the school remains committed to the mission of the program, according to the Daily Globe.
"Some of these kids need a second chance," program coordinator Lori Struwe told the Daily Globe. "They just don't fit in at the regular schools for a variety of reasons."
Ironwood Daily Globe, "Community school thrives despite funding restrictions," Nov. 14, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Budgets: A Crisis of Management, Not Finance," Feb. 11, 2005
SUTTONS BAY CONCERNED WITH AMERICAN INDIAN ACHIEVEMENT GAP
SUTTONS BAY, Mich. — The Suttons Bay school district is looking for solutions to the disproportionate number of minority students, primarily American Indian, enrolled in the schools' special education program, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.
In 2004-2005 the number of American Indian students scoring proficient on state standardized tests was 40 percent lower than non-white students. Additionally, in 2005 more than 44 percent of the district's American Indian students received some sort of special education services, compared to a statewide average of 15.8 percent, the Enterprise reported.
District teachers, administrators and school board members are planning to meet with the Michigan Department of Education to gain insight into increasing achievement among minority students.
"If we don't talk about it, it's never going to change," Superintendent Mike Murray told the Enterprise.
Leelanau Enterprise, "'Achievement gap' concerns are being met by S-B schools," Nov. 17, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How Ideology Perpetuates the Achievement Gap," Feb. 2, 2005
BERKLEY RENEWS SCHOOLS OF CHOICE PROGRAM PARTICIPATION
ROYAL OAK, Mich. — The Berkley school board voted 5-1 to renew its participation in the schools of choice program, a practice it began in 2000, according to the Royal Oak Mirror.
The district opened 99 slots for elementary students in Oakland County during the 2008-2009 school year. District Superintendent Michael Simeck said funding from the schools of choice program accounts for about 20 percent of the total budget, or $800,000, according to the Mirror.
The one dissenting vote was cast by board Vice President Marc Katz, who said the program wastes taxpayer money on advertising while competing for students. Simeck said the district does not fund advertising and only accepts elementary school students so that they can catch up by the time they graduate, the Mirror reported.
Royal Oak Mirror, "Berkley opts for another year of Schools of Choice," Nov. 14, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Nonresident Student Adjustment Under Sections 105 and 105c" in "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007
COMMENT AND WIN AN IPOD
MIDLAND, Mich. — Go to http://forum.educationreport.org and post a comment for a chance to win one of three iPods.
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.
Contact Managing Editor Sarah Grether at
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