Contents of this issue:


  • AFT sues Dearborn local union
  • Financial emergency declared for Pontiac 
  • Covert’s financial distress due to mismanagement
  • Warren latest district to try year-round school
  • Ann Arbor school board faces recall
  • Correction to last week’s MED

AFT Sues Dearborn Local Union


DEARBORN, Mich. – The American Federation of Teachers is suing Local 4750 of Dearborn Public Schools, according to The Detroit News.

The local represents nonacademic employees, including custodians, The News reports. According to a letter published by the Dearborn Federation of School Employees, AFT representatives showed up at the DFSE office to demand keys, files, passwords and home addresses, among other things.
 
According to The News, DFSE is rumored to be attempting to disaffiliate from the AFT, and the AFT is suing to take over the local union’s office, property and records.
 
“If AFT’s sole interest is to ensure the well being of the DFSE members, they have an odd way of doing it,” the DFSE letter states.
 
SOURCES: The Detroit News, “Teachers union sues Dearborn local, alleging disaffiliation vote,” July 29, 2013 
Dearborn Federation of School Employees, “Letter to DFSE Members,” July 25, 2013 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “They Are A Bureaucratic Machine That Got Out of Control," Sept. 12, 2012


Financial Emergency Declared For Pontiac


LANSING, Mich. – A review team has declared that the Pontiac School District is in a financial emergency, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that if Gov. Rick Snyder agrees with the determination, the district could undergo bankruptcy or have an emergency manager appointed. The district has $33 million in unpaid bills, according to The Free Press, and its debt has quadrupled since 2009.
 
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Panel declares financial emergency for Pontiac School District,” Aug. 2, 2013 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Union President Blames State, School Officials for Problems at Buena Vista, Pontiac Schools,” May 15, 2013


Covert’s Financial Distress Due to Mismanagement


COVERT, Mich. – Previous statements from Covert Public Schools officials that a nearby company owed $9 million in back taxes were not true, according to MLive. The company — New Covert Generating — might actually be due a tax refund, MLive reports, including $212,000 from the Covert school district.

MLive reports that Covert’s financial distress comes in part from unrealistic revenue projections. According to MLive, Covert officials assumed they would receive $3 million in tax revenue from the plant, though it had never paid more than $2 million to the school district.
 
According to MLive, the taxable value of the plant is contributing to the confusion. A tax tribunal recently reduced the plant’s taxable value, something Van Buren County will attempt to overturn, MLive reports.
 
“This really isn’t final yet,” Covert Interim Superintendent Gary Campbell told MLive. “We maintain that the ruling is not going to stand.”
  
SOURCE: MLive, “Covert schools saga complicated by public officials’ missteps, misstatements,” Aug. 3, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Covert heavily relies on one taxpayer,” July 30, 2013


Warren Latest District to Try Year-Round School


WARREN, Mich. – Three Warren elementary schools will have classes year-round this year, according to The Detroit News. Warren is the one of 33 districts or charter public schools that now offers year-round classes, The News reports.

Warren schools using a year-round calendar will still have a similar number of days to those operating on a September to June schedule, according to The News, but students will have days off balanced throughout the year instead of a lengthy summer break.
 
Carolyn Shields, professor and dean of the College of Education at Wayne State University, told The News that “Year-round schooling is not a panacea… but it definitely helps reduce summer learning loss and increases the achievement of poor, disadvantaged and non-English speaking students.”
 
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Warren school district tries out year-round program,” Aug. 1, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Year-round schedule works for Jackson school,” July 25 2013


Ann Arbor School Board Faces Recall


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Six of the seven Ann Arbor Public Schools board members are facing recall, according to AnnArbor.com.

A parent filed the recall petition language in mid July, AnnArbor.com reports. The petition cites the same reasons for recalling each board member, including a lack of transparency in decision making, and a high rate of turnover of district superintendents, according to AnnArbor.com.
 
AnnArbor.com reports that the average tenure of an AAPS superintendent is 2.25 years. At issue may also be the sitting board’s recent superintendent hiring decision, according to AnnArbor.com. The parent and a group called AAPS Parents for Change were active in trying to get the board to hire a candidate from within the school system, instead of hiring an outsider, AnnArbor.com reports.
 
SOURCE: AnnArbor.com, “6 Ann Arbor school board members prepare for recall hearing,” Aug. 1, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Ann Arbor Students and Parents Take Cuts While Teachers Get Raises,” July 15, 2013


Correction to Last Week’s MED


Last week’s MED contained two inaccuracies regarding a proposal to change teacher evaluations. A panel recommended that half of a teacher's evaluation be based on student academic growth, with up to 5 percent of the evaluation based on schoolwide student growth. The panel also recommended that teachers be dismissed if they have been rated ineffective for two years. 

The full text of the recommendations is available here:
http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4208979723.PDF

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