MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST July 6, 2010

School funding increases, DPS Super out, CMU/AFT


Contents of this issue:


  • Bobb says superintendent is out; board pushes back
  • Lawmaker: Shift 'race' money to jobs
  • School funding increases
  • CMU, AFT agree on new bargaining unit

Bobb says superintendent is out; board pushes back


DETROIT — The Detroit Public Schools board of education says that Teresa Gueyser is still district superintendent, even though her contract expired and emergency financial manager Robert Bobb did not renew it, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Gueyser's contract and $190,000 annual salary expired June 30, and district spokesman Steve Wasko said the nonrenewal was "strictly a decision based on economic necessity," the Free Press reported.  The district faces a $363 million deficit, according to the report.

School board President Anthony Adams said that Bobb does not have authority over the superintendent and that, "We expect her to come to work tomorrow, and we expect him not to interfere with her ability to do her job," the Free Press reported.

If she does show up, she faces not being paid, Bobb said, according to the Free Press. He said he notified Gueyser in April that her contract would not be renewed, the Free Press reported.  The conflict is the latest in a series of showdowns between the board and Bobb over financial and academic authority in the district.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Public Schools chief is not renewed," July 1, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Bobb wins in court — for now," May 8, 2010


Lawmaker: Shift 'race' money to jobs


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Money earmarked for education reform would go instead to education jobs under a proposal by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisconsin, wants to move about $800 million out of the Race to the Top and other federal education programs and put it toward a $10 billion education jobs bill, according to The Post. The shift would be accomplished by tacking it to a military spending bill.

The Post reported that the idea is likely to force debate among Democrats about federal aid to schools. Some believe it should be spread widely, as through an education jobs bill, The Post reported, while others argue that a significant portion should be set aside for the most innovative states and schools, as the Race to the Top envisions.

Tim Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, predicted that state education officials would be "enraged" at cuts in the Race program, since many states (including Michigan) adopted reform measures to become more competitive for funding.

Ellis Brachman, an Obey spokesman, told The Post that the appropriations chairman believes there is a threat of massive teacher layoffs across the country. Peter Cunningham, assistant education secretary for communications, said that the country should not have to choose between jobs and reform, given that other areas of the federal budget could be cut.

SOURCE:
The Washington Post, "Lawmakers wants to shift some 'Race to the Top' funds to prevent teacher layoffs," June 30, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Jobs-and-reform mostly jobs-and-jobs," Jan. 21, 2010


School funding increases


LANSING, Mich. — Michigan public schools would receive an $11-per-pupil increase in 2010-2011 under a legislative conference committee agreement reached Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The committee agreed to retain most of a current $300 million surplus in the School Aid Fund for now, rather than apply it to the state's general fund budget deficit, the Free Press reported. Schools would receive a total of $12.8 billion during the state fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, according to the Free Press. After paying for the per-pupil increase and other minor funding increases, about $276 million would remain as surplus.

Huron School District Superintendent Rick Naughton told the Free Press that the increase was welcome news that could allow his district to lower class sizes.

The Free Press reported that significant issues remain on the 2011 budget, including a retirement reform measure aimed at state employees.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Michigan schools get boost," July 1, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Unstable Funding Myth," June 28, 2010


CMU, AFT agree on new bargaining unit


MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Non-tenure track faculty  at Central Michigan University are expected to vote soon on certifying the American Federation of Teachers as their union representative, now that a dispute over who would be eligible to join has been resolved, according to The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun.

Under an agreement announced Wednesday between CMU and the union, the new bargaining unit is expected to include about 400 non-tenure track faculty members, called "temporary" faculty by the university, who teach at quarter time or greater, including those teaching as few as three credit hours per semester, according to The Morning Sun.

If a majority of the bargaining unit members vote to have the AFT represent them in collective bargaining, then work would begin on an initial contract, The Morning Sun reported. The new group calls itself the Union of Teaching Faculty.

In a related report by Central Michigan Life, the campus newspaper, Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said members should realize gaining membership to the union is only the first step.

"We have one mission: to create the best working environment for employees," he said. "We are the reason for progress."

SOURCES:
(Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, "Most nontenure-track faculty to be part of potential new CMU bargaining unit," July 1, 2010

Central Michigan Life, "Non-tenure track faculty, CMU reach union agreement," June 30, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "More and More a Political Animal," June 7, 2010

 


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 med@educationreport.org

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