Contents of this issue:
- Rally to protest Detroit charter public schools planned
- Detroit charter public schools run summer leadership program
- Washtenaw public schools competing for students
- DPS gets cash advance on state aid
- Legislature sets school spending
RALLY TO PROTEST DETROIT CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS PLANNED
DETROIT — Two former Detroit Public Schools teachers are organizing a Wednesday rally in Lansing to protest the possibility of more charter public schools in Detroit, according to The Detroit News.
Steve Conn and Heather Miller, who also are suing DPS over their firings related to a protest last year on school closures, are organizing the rally, The News reported.
"We have stopped Lansing's charter school legislation many times before, but only by mobilizing Detroiters to get there — but usually at the last minute, because the state government does so much of its business in secret," a press release from Conn and Miller stated, according to The News.
At issue is the designation of DPS as a "first-class" district under state law. If DPS falls below 100,000 students, Bay Mills and Wayne County community colleges would be able to open charter schools within the district, The News reported.
The Detroit News, "Rally planned to protest charter schools in Detroit," July 22, 2008
Michigan Education Report, "Colleges: 'Wait and see' on Detroit charter schools," April 7, 2008
DETROIT CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS RUN SUMMER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
DETROIT — Students enrolled in a summer leadership program at six Detroit charter public schools have a chance to gain four months of reading, writing and math skills, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"There is an extensive body of research that says children living in low-income communities lose three months of skills over the summer," Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), told the Free Press. "When you're able to turn that to not losing but gaining skills, that has a profound impact."
BELL was founded in 1992 by a group of Harvard law students. The program is being held at six charter public schools in Detroit operated by National Heritage Academies.
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit-area charter schools' program helps kids," July 20, 2008
Michigan Education Report, "Charter students growing up," Nov. 14, 2007
WASHTENAW COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMPETING FOR STUDENTS
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Conventional public school districts in Washtenaw County are trying to attract more students with marketing campaigns that include billboards, radio ads and teachers knocking on doors are, according to The Ann Arbor News.
Ann Arbor Public Schools is spending about $75,000 in an attempt to increase enrollment 1 percent, or about 200 students, The News reported. Willow Run Community Schools is spending $65,000 on radio ads, while administrators and teachers from one elementary school in that district have canvassed neighborhoods three times since June, according to The News.
Washtenaw County private schools saw enrollment increase 22 percent last year, while enrollment in conventional public schools in the county fell 2.1 percent, The News reported. Fortis Academy, a charter public school in Ypsilanti, had a waiting list of about 700 students last year.
The Ann Arbor News, "Schools vie for students — Competition especially heated in east Washtenaw County," July 19, 2008
Michigan Education Report, "Public schools step up marketing" Jan. 18, 1999
DPS GETS CASH ADVANCE ON STATE AID
DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools recently received two separate payments of $19 million each from the state ahead of schedule, according to The Detroit News.
A July 20 payment was made July 7, and an Aug. 20 payment was made July 21, The News reported.
"This is an important matter," district spokesman Steve Wasko told The News. "The Michigan Department of Education has assisted the district at times when cash flow would have been an issue, and they have responded because of the trust they have in district leadership at this time."
Private vendors holding contracts with the school, including a janitorial company that said it could go out of business because the district owes it money for past work, have not been paid, The News reported.
The Detroit News, "State gives Detroit Public Schools cash advance," July 21, 2008
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS overspending pegged at $408 million for 2009," June 27, 2008
LEGISLATURE SETS SCHOOL SPENDING
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan will spend about $13.4 billion in state money on public education in the 2008-2009 school year, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The budget includes per-pupil funding increases of between $56 and $122, and $15 million for smaller high schools meant to decrease drop-out rates, the Free Press reported. A House-Senate conference committee must now reconcile bills passed by each chamber.
Detroit Free Press, "School aid fund gets Senate approval," July 18, 2008
Michigan Education Digest, "Senate approves funding increases for schools," March 27, 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 Sarah Grether at
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