Contents of this issue:


  • Schools outsource benefit administration
  • DPS intervention possible
  • Grand Haven insurance changes
  • Grand Rapids contract still unresolved

SCHOOLS OUTSOURCE BENEFIT ADMINISTRATION


LELAND, Mich. - Leland Public Schools is among the latest to join a consortium formed to oversee the investments of public school employees, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

The consortium was formed by 18 intermediate school districts stretching from Sault Ste. Marie to Benton Harbor in response to a federal law that requires districts to track employee investments, even after employees leave, the Enterprise reported.

The districts hired TSA Consulting Group of Florida to administer the program.

SOURCE:
Leelanau Enterprise, "Leland joins school consortium," Sept. 22, 2008

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Survey 2008: School Service Privatization Grows Again," Sept. 8, 2008


DPS INTERVENTION POSSIBLE


DETROIT - The second state intervention into Detroit Public Schools in 10 years is possible after state Superintendent Mike Flanagan sent Gov. Jennifer Granholm a letter indicating the district has "serious financial problems," according to the Detroit Free Press.

The letter set in motion a process under which Gov. Granholm has 30 days to appoint a team to review the district's finances.

That group would then have 90 days to recommend if an emergency financial manager is needed, the Free Press reported.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "First step taken in possible state takeover of Detroit's troubled school finances," Sept. 17, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS overspending pegged at $408 million for 2009," June 27, 2008


GRAND HAVEN INSURANCE CHANGES


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Secretaries in the Grand Haven Public Schools will receive pay raises and another salary step in exchange for agreeing to insurance changes, according to the Grand Haven Tribune.

The bargaining unit, which includes 43 members, agreed to accept Michigan Education Special Services Association Choices II and an increase in prescription co-pays. MESSA is a third-party administrator associated with the Michigan Education Association school employees union that outsources insurance underwriting to Blue Cross Blue Shield, then resells the packages to school districts.

John Thatcher, assistant superintendent for human services, said the co-pay change will save the district enough money to fund half of the salary increases, the Tribune reported.

SOURCE:
Grand Haven Tribune, "GHAPS secretaries to receive pay increase," Sept. 16, 2008

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


GRAND RAPIDS CONTRACT STILL UNRESOLVED


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Public Schools board of education has offered teachers a new contract while also taking steps to prepare in case those teachers strike, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

The board voted 8-1 to give Superintendent Bernard Taylor and board President Catherine Mueller "sweeping powers" in the event of a strike, The Press reported.

"This designates the authority to do whatever we have to do as allowed by law," Mueller told The Press.

The Grand Rapids Education Association teachers union sent letters to substitute teachers in August asking that they not cross the picket line in the event of a strike, according to The Press.

Teacher strikes are illegal under Michigan law.

SOURCE:
The Grand Rapids Press, "Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher contract stalemate takes public turn," Sept. 23, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "GRPS board votes 'no confidence' in union; won't collect dues," May 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
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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