Contents of this issue:


  • Lotto would cover college costs
  • Brighton teachers to pay more for insurance
  • Property values drop, so does revenue
  • Baldwin ready with scholarship money
  • Building-for-tuition swap in Hancock
  • Correction

LOTTO WOULD COVER COLLEGE COSTS


DETROIT - Super lotto games would help cover college costs for all Michigan residents under a proposal introduced this week by state Rep. Fred Durhal, D-Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Under Durhal's plan, all tuition costs would be covered through the proceeds from a new super lotto game played three times a year, plus voluntary donations from income tax checkoffs, donations from corporations and nonprofit organizations, and a 1 percent tax on gross receipts from Michigan casinos, the Free Press reported. Assistance would be given to all students who have lived in Michigan at least five years.

Durhal told reporters that $1.7 billion would be needed for the first four years of the plan, the Free Press reported. He said that a better-educated workforce would help the Michigan economy, but that college currently isn't affordable for most people.

American Indian-owned casinos now pay an 8.1 percent state tax on revenue, according to the Free Press.

To ensure that money raised for college tuition would not be used for other purposes, Durhal also proposed a constitutional amendment, the Free Press reported.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Lotto could fund plan for free tuition," Sept. 15, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "State College Money Should Follow Students, Not Lobbyists," May 15, 2006


BRIGHTON TEACHERS TO PAY MORE FOR INSURANCE


BRIGHTON, Mich. - Brighton Area Schools teachers will receive pay raises and step increases, but also contribute more to their health insurance costs in the next two years, a move expected to help the district address its overspending problems, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

The Press & Argus said that teachers will receive a total of 3.38 percent in pay hikes as well as step and longevity payments, but also must contribute up to $1,800 a year for insurance.

Overall, the district will save $1.2 million under the contract, which expires in 2011, the Press & Argus reported.

Though the previous contract did not expire until 2010, the district asked teachers to reopen negotiations in view of a budget calling for $4 million to $6 million in overspending, according to Press & Argus reports. Similar deals were approved with the support staff and administrators.

Brighton Education Association President Barry Goode told the Press & Argus that not all teachers were pleased, though he declined to release the tally of voting among teachers.

"I've taken a lot of heat," he said, the Press & Argus reported.

The school board approved the contract in a 6-0 vote.

SOURCE:
Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, "Brighton schools win $1.2M payback," Sept. 15, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Splitting the health insurance bill," Aug. 19, 2009


PROPERTY VALUES DROP, SO DOES REVENUE


WATERFORD, Mich. - Oakland Schools will eliminate 86 positions, freeze wages and require nonunion employees to take five unpaid furlough days in response to predictions of a 24 percent drop in revenue by 2013, according to The Oakland Press.

The intermediate school district relies primarily on property taxes for funding, and property values in the area have declined, The Press reported.

Deputy Superintendent of Finance Bob Moore projected a drop of about $53 million from the current revenue level of $228.3 million in the next four years, according to The Press. Local school districts, faced with budget problems of their own, are requesting more services from the intermediate district.

The district has about 378 nonunion and 168 union employees, The Press reported. Nonunion employees will face a two-year wage freeze. Union employees will be asked to accept similar reductions during contract negotiations, the report said.

The board decided earlier to reduce its fund balance from 10 percent of the budget to 5 percent, the report said.

SOURCE:
The Oakland Press, "Oakland Schools looks at layoffs, furloughs," Sept. 10, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Perfect Storm: Batten Down the Hatches or Drown," July 6, 2009


BALDWIN READY WITH SCHOLARSHIP MONEY


BALDWIN, Mich. - The Baldwin Promise Authority has collected enough money to award its first scholarships to Baldwin Community Schools Class of 2010 graduates, organizers announced recently, according to the Ludington Daily News.

The program will pay up to $5,000 per year for up to four years toward tuition at a Michigan university or college. The recipients must maintain a 2.0 grade point average while in college, the News reported.

The Baldwin Promise Authority was established under the state's new Promise Zone legislation, which requires local groups to raise enough money to pay for the first two years of a scholarship program, according to the News.

In subsequent years the program will receive a share of education tax dollars generated by increased property values in the district, the report said. The Baldwin Promise Authority has raised $80,000 of the estimated $120,000 it needs, the News reported.

Baldwin Promise scholarships will be prorated for students who attended less than four years at Baldwin High School, according to the report.

SOURCE:
Ludington Daily News, "Baldwin's promise: Graduate and receive up to $20,000 for college tuition," Sept. 9, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Promise Zone bills signed," Jan. 16, 2009


BUILDING-FOR-TUITION SWAP IN HANCOCK


HANCOCK, Mich. - Finlandia University and Hancock Public Schools have entered a school building-for-tuition agreement that gives the university more classroom space and local high school graduates a free college education, according to an Associated Press article published in the Chicago Tribune.

For at least 12 years, graduates of Hancock Central High School who quality for admission to Finlandia will receive free tuition, valued at $18,000 a year, according to AP. In return, Hancock will turn over to Finlandia a 73,000-square-foot, four- story school building that it no longer uses.

Finlandia President Philip Johnson said the move will allow the university to expand from enrollment of about 550 to a desired 700 students, AP reported. The university and school district also will share a 10-acre sports field, giving Finlandia the chance to introduce a new football program in 2012, according to the report.

Finlandia is seeking about $9 million in donations to upgrade the athletics field and the building, scheduled to be occupied by fall 2011, the report said.

SOURCE:
Chicago Tribune, "Mich. college offers tuition in swap for building," Sept. 7, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Universal Tuition Tax Credit: A Proposal to Advance Parental Choice in Education," Nov. 13, 1997


CORRECTION


An item in the Sept. 8 edition of Michigan Education Digest should have said that Greenville Public Schools is located in Montcalm County.


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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