Contents of this issue:


  • Detroit Public Schools trying to keep Children’s Museum open
  • Saline schools considers mandating ‘Pledge of Allegiance’
  • 48 districts post budget deficits, 22 larger than $1 million
  • Number of charter schools to increase slowly
  • Financial emergency declared in Highland Park School District

Detroit Public Schools Trying to Keep Children’s Museum Open


DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools announced it is working on options to keep the Detroit Children’s Museum open, according to The Detroit News. DPS first learned the museum was in trouble when the Detroit Science Center announced it lacked the funds to run the facility.

According to The News, DPS owns the Children’s Museum but control of the day-to-day operations was transferred to the Science Center in 2010. While the Science Center closed in September due to financial issues, it was able to keep the Children’s Museum open through December with federal funds.

SOURCE:

The Detroit News, "Surprised DPS says it's working to keep Children's Museum open," Jan. 6, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Digest, “Detroit Public Schools shows first surplus in four years,” Dec. 6, 2011


Saline Schools Considers Mandating ‘Pledge of Allegiance’


SALINE, Mich. — Trustee David Holden has asked the Saline Board of Education to mandate a daily recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance,” according to AnnArbor.com.

“A lot of people focus on ‘one nation, under God,’ but I prefer to focus on the back end of the pledge: ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” Holden told AnnArbor.com. “I think it works very well with some of the things we are trying to do to discourage bullying.”

Some students support Holden’s proposal, while others are concerned that requiring the pledge could backfire and actually make bullying a larger issue. Aaron Mukerjee, a student representative from Saline High School, told AnnArbor.com he was worried students who chose not to say the pledge might be ostracized.

AnnArbor.com also reported the Michigan Senate passed a bill requiring all students to recite the pledge at the beginning of every school day. That bill remains in committee but is expected to easily pass the House if brought to a floor vote.

SOURCE:

AnnArbor.com, “Saline schools will consider mandating daily 'Pledge of Allegiance',” Jan. 11, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michiganvotes.org, “2011 Senate Bill 637: Require school Pledge of Allegiance recitation


48 Districts Post Budget Deficits, 22 Larger Than $1 Million


LANSING, Mich. — Almost 50 of Michigan’s 550 school districts posted a budget deficit for 2010-2011, according to The Grand Rapids Press, with 22 districts overspending by at least $1 million.  These figures represent a substantial increase from a decade ago, when 18 districts were in the red and only three had deficits larger than $1 million.

“Every district has unique reasons for why they are in a deficit,” Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis told The Press.

Ellis also noted that 165 school districts have posted deficits at some point over the last 21 years, according to The Press. About 20 percent of these districts took three years or longer to bring their spending back in line with revenues.

SOURCE:

The Grand Rapids Press, “Nearly 50 Michigan school districts posted deficits, 22 are $1 million or more in the red” Jan. 11, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Reality Check: Who Is to Blame For School Deficits?” Jan. 16, 2012


Number of Charter Schools to Increase Slowly


LANSING, Mich. — A leading advocate of charter public schools does not expect to see a large increase in their numbers despite a new law that removes the cap, according to Michigan Radio.

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, said that instead of exploding he expects the number of new charter public schools to slowly increase over the next several years.

“The new law will probably have more effect on fall 2013," Quisenberry told Michigan Radio. "And even then we wouldn’t expect some kind of dramatic change."

Previously, Michigan public universities were only allowed to collectively authorize up to 150 charter public schools.  Even with the removal of that cap, only six public universities are currently taking applications to open new charter public schools, according to The Detroit Free Press.

SOURCES:

Michigan Radio, “The number of charter schools in Michigan expected to increase slowly (though mainly in 2013),” Jan. 7, 2012

The Detroit Free Press, “6 Michigan universities now taking applications for new charter schools,” Jan. 10, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Difference With Charter Schools,” Dec. 2, 2011


Financial Emergency Declared in Highland Park School District


HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder has declared the Highland Park School District is in a financial emergency, according to The Detroit News. Pending a hearing before Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, the door is now open for Gov. Snyder to appoint an emergency manager for the troubled school district.

The district’s deficit grew from $6.6 million last year to $11.3 million this year. As part of the governor’s declaration, the state advanced $188,000 for the district to make payroll and remain open through mid-February, according to The News.

SOURCE:

The Detroit News, “Snyder: Highland Park Schools in financial emergency,” Jan. 13, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Digest, “Emergency manager needed for Highland Park Schools,” Jan. 10, 2012


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report, an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Kyle Jackson at mailto:med@educationreport.org

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