Contents of this issue:
  • Convicted school "bandit" is sentenced in Lapeer
  • Howell looks to cut $2.1 million after signing teacher contract
  • Dearborn Public School employee arrested for alleged sex crime
  • Judge dismisses teacher lawsuit against Lansing School District
  • State agency tells schools that bus ads are allowed
  • Comment and win book money

CONVICTED SCHOOL "BANDIT" IS SENTENCED IN LAPEER
LAPEER, Mich. — A man who police say wandered through 40 to 50 schools under the guise of a custodian was sentenced to 18 months to five years in prison, according to The Lapeer County Press.

Alfred J. Bailey, 49, would enter schools after hours and break into classrooms looking for money in desks, purses and wallets, The County Press reported. He told investigators he had entered schools in Lapeer, Macomb and Oakland counties. If he were confronted in a building, he would usually state that he was looking for a meeting and left before authorities arrived, The County Press reported.

In addition to a prison sentence, Bailey must pay fines and costs, including the $1,594 spent by police to track and bring him back from Florida to face charges. He was arrested in Ocala, Fla., in March after Michigan State Police notified local authorities of his whereabouts, according to The County Press.

Bailey was sentenced for two counts of breaking with intent to steal in Imlay City and North Branch schools. No other communities have pressed charges, but he is believed to be the criminal caught on tape in districts located in Macomb and Oakland Counties, The County Press reported.

SOURCE:
Lapeer County Press, "School bandit is sentenced," June 20, 2007
http://www.countypress.com/stories/062007/loc_20070620003.shtml

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Long-time school bandit suspect arrested in Florida," April 3, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/8364

Michigan Education Digest, "Ecorse schools consider background checks on volunteers," June 5, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/8635


HOWELL LOOKS TO CUT $2.1 MILLION AFTER SIGNING TEACHER CONTRACT
HOWELL, Mich. — The Howell Public Schools are looking to alleviate a $2.1 million budget deficit by possibly contracting for custodial and transportation services, and cutting academic programs. These cuts come right after the district finalized its contract with the Howell Education Association. That contract, which will cost the schools an additional $750,000 to $1 million, includes keeping insurance purchased from the Michigan Education Specials Services Association, a third party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association school employees union.

The district has sent out bids for custodial work, and is expecting to save $400,000 through competitive contracting, the Daily Press and Argus reported. That is an effective per-pupil funding increase of $46.00.

"We knew in three years it would come to this," Rick Terres, associate superintendent for business said, according to the Daily Press and Argus. "We have to start impacting people's lives. ... We are looking at options; one of those options includes privatization. It is a little unclear at this point to what degree that will occur."

Some members of the support service staff are upset with the district's decision to examine competitive contracting. Both the custodial and transportation staff have taken concessions in the past, the Daily Press and Argus reported.

"Our health care is 34 percent cheaper than what teachers are getting," district resident and bus driver Debbie Green said, according to the newspaper.

Howell Public Schools have already saved $600,000 by reducing the hours of instruction in the middle school schedule from seven to six. The district also plans to see additional savings from utility conservation, downsizing pool operations and by moving school board elections from May to November, according to the Daily Press and Argus.

SOURCES:
Livingston Daily Press & Argus, "Howell schools' deficit could affect custodians first," June 21, 2007
http://www.dailypressandargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070621/NEWS01/706210306/1002

Livingston Daily Press & Argus, "School officials to discuss cuts in budget tonight," June 19, 2007
http://www.dailypressandargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070619/NEWS01/706190317

Livingston Daily Press & Argus, "Deal should've been one that district's students, taxpayers could applaud" June 17, 2007
http://www.dailypressandargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070617/OPINION01/706170315

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Effective Funding Increase from Competitive Contracting in Selected Michigan School Districts," June 11, 2007
http://www.mackinac.org/8222

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Howell teachers contribute more for MESSA premiums," June 19, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/8648

Michigan Education Report, "Growing number of districts seek solutions to costly health insurance," Dec. 15, 2005
http://www.educationreport.org/7479


DEARBORN PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED SEX CRIME
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. — A Dearborn Public School paraprofessional was arraigned on one count of child abusive commercial activity and three counts of using the Internet to commit a crime, according to The Detroit News.

Steven Lysogorski, 37, has been working with the schools for 14 years and is in charge of supervising students in detention, as well as working with at-risk students. The two charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, The News reported.

Lysogorski allegedly was caught by a member of the Wayne County Sheriff's Internet Crime Unit who posed as a 14-year-old boy over the Internet. When he was arrested by deputies his plan was to provide the "boy" with a cell phone in exchange for sex, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans said, according to The News.

"It's very disheartening to see someone who has one of the most sacred trusts possible, the supervision of children, allegedly violate that trust by engaging in this type of behavior," Evans said in a press release, according to The News.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "School employee arraigned sex charges," June 22, 2007
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007706220431

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Parents Still Have an Option to Check Kids' Safety," Feb. 2, 2006
http://www.mackinac.org/7574

Michigan Education Digest, "Some convicted felons still working in schools," July 5, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/7807


JUDGE DISMISSES TEACHER LAWSUIT AGAINST LANSING SCHOOL DISTRICT
LANSING, Mich. — The lawsuit filed against the Lansing School District by four teachers, who claim the district broke state expulsion laws, was dismissed by an Ingham County Circuit Court judge, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The four teachers claimed they were assaulted by four different students who slapped or threw chairs at them. Under state law, a student in sixth grade or above who assaults a school employee faces mandatory expulsion. The four students were suspended by the district, the State Journal reported.

"At times, the board, with the assistance of the staff and the affected individuals themselves, may deem that it doesn't rise to assault," Lansing school board President Guillermo Lopez told the State Journal. "But we always look at how we can protect our staff."

Court documents show the teachers are concerned that disciplinary action in the district is "an ongoing pattern of ignoring the mandates," and endangers staff and students, the State Journal reported.

The case was dismissed by the judge because he said it is not the court's place to settle disputes over student disciplinary action.

"I don't propose as a circuit court judge to monitor this school district's activities," Judge Thomas Brown said. "It's not our prerogative."

SOURCES:
Lansing State Journal, "Judge dismisses lawsuit against Lansing schools," June 20, 2007
http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070620/NEWS01/706200360/1001/news

Lansing State Journal, "Teachers sue over alleged assaults," June 20, 2007
http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070620/NEWS01/706200343/1006/news

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Private Protection: A Growing Industry Could Enhance School Safety," Nov. 16, 1998
http://www.mackinc.org/802

Michigan Education Report, "The three P's of school safety," Fall 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/3134


STATE AGENCY TELLS SCHOOLS THAT BUS ADS ARE ALLOWED
YPSILANTI, Mich. — A state agency that recently mandated that advertisements be removed from Ypsilanti school buses said the decision was based on a misunderstanding, according to The Ann Arbor News.

A school bus inspector from the Michigan State Police told the Ypsilanti Public Schools that all of their buses would fail state inspection if advertisements were not removed. The district contracts with InSight Media for ad placement and has been doing so since November 2005, The News reported.

Robert R. Powers Jr., commanding officer of the Michigan State Police Traffic Safety division told The News that the Michigan Department of Education is working on a policy regarding advertisements in school buses, but it is still being developed.

"Unfortunately someone from my staff misinterpreted that draft as a policy," Powers told The News. "They were acting on a policy that doesn't exist, and may never exist."

InSight President Brian Ungar was pleased to have the issue cleared up. The company has also contracted with Bay City Hazel Park, West Bloomfield, Southgate and Saginaw school districts, The News reported.

"We put the school districts in a sticky situation, and we didn't mean to," Ungar told The News. "We're excited we finally have the rules and regulations worked out and have it in writing."

SOURCE:
The Ann Arbor News, "Agency says school bus ads can stay," June 20, 2007
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-23/1182350575183490.xml&coll=2

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Ypsilanti schools forced to remove ads from buses," June 12, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/8636

Michigan Education Digest, "Kentwood leases land for billboards," Nov. 14, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/8067

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally Responsible Public School Districts," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4891


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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.

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