MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 23
June 11, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Voters reject tax hikes in school elections
* Private school enrollment drops in Michigan
* Failings cause Detroit summer school enrollment to double
* Grand Rapids Press: Leave Proposal A alone
* ACLU sues school over suspension of student writers
* NOTICE: New issue of Michigan Education Report released

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VOTERS REJECT TAX HIKES IN SCHOOL ELECTIONS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Proposals to increase school taxes failed Monday
in three of the five Wayne County school districts that requested
extra dollars to educate kids and fix up school buildings.

The most narrow margin of defeat came in Redford Union Schools,
where a 2-mill proposal to maintain buildings lost by 29 votes.
Flat Rock schools also lost -- by 63 votes -- a 1.8-mill proposal
that would have raised about $363,000 a year for building
repairs.

And Huron Schools lost a proposal to raise business taxes by 3
mills to generate operating money. The defeat means the district
will get $55,000 less next year.

However, voters in Wyandotte and Garden City approved proposals
to raise school taxes.

School elections were marked by low to average voter turnouts in
most metro Detroit school districts.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Strapped schools ask for tax increases," June 11,
2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/11/a01-511884.htm

Detroit News, "Redford Union, Flat Rock, Huron reject school tax
hikes," June 11, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/11/e03-511785.htm

Detroit News, "School votes include board seats, millage hikes,"
June 11, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/11/e04-511650.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Ann Arbor defeats plan for school bonds,"
June 11, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul11_20020611.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Major school issue loses in Royal Oak," June
11, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/noskul11_20020611.htm

Detroit Free Press, "School millage loses again in Oxford," June
11, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/noskul11x_20020611.htm

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "School Funding: Lack of Money or
Lack of Money Management?," August 30, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3683

Michigan Education Report, "Consolidate School Elections with
General Elections," Early Fall 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=2232


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PRIVATE SCHOOL ENROLLMENT DROPS IN MICHIGAN
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DETROIT, Mich. - As many as 20 private schools across the state
won't survive Michigan's economic downturn, says a recent report
by The Detroit News.

The Archdiocese of Detroit announced the closing of three more
Catholic schools last week, bringing the total closing in Metro
Detroit this year to 10, with two others merging into a single
school. It's the largest number of closings in 31 years.

The Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools is anticipating as
many as eight more this year in Lutheran and Christian schools,
director Glen Walstra told the News. All told, the closings could
affect as many as 2,500 students.

As private schools raise tuition, parents increasingly are
pulling their children out by the thousands and sending them to
public schools.

A statewide education reform group, Choices for Children, is
considering pushing a ballot referendum to allow a tax credit
amendment for taxpayers who pay private school tuition and
another to remove language from the state constitution that
prohibits tax dollars from funding nongovernment schools, Greg
McNeilly, executive director of the group, told the News.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Private school enrollment drops," June 10, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/10/a01-511180.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Unused Capacity in Privately
Funded Michigan Schools," March 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=1626


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FAILINGS CAUSE DETROIT SUMMER SCHOOL ENROLLMENT TO DOUBLE
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DETROIT, Mich. - About 22,000 Detroit public school students in
three grades -- nearly double the number from last year -- will
have to attend summer school starting next week because an
unusually large number failed a district-wide standardized test.

School officials, already demoralized by poor student scores on
state tests, are now puzzled about what caused the spike and are
scrambling to pay for the mandatory extra class time.

Classrooms will be packed with about 66 percent of the district's
third-graders, about 45 percent of the fifth-graders and 40
percent of the eighth-graders. A large number of those students
had passing grades, but learned last week that they hadn't passed
the Essential Skills Attainment Test, said curriculum chief
Juanita Clay Chambers.

Detroit students in grades 3, 5 and 8 who don't pass the test
must attend summer school before passing to the next grade, a
district requirement. Chief Executive Kenneth Burnley started the
program two years ago.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Summer school size doubles," June 11, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/11/e01-511817.htm


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GRAND RAPIDS PRESS: LEAVE PROPOSAL A ALONE
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A recent Grand Rapids Press editorial calls
Proposal A, the 1994 tax law that changed state education
funding, "the biggest achievement in Michigan public policy over
the last four decades."

The Press says the results of Proposal A have helped Michigan
schools and taxpayers, reducing property taxes, and increasing
and equalizing school funding across districts.

According to the U.S. Census, Michigan ranks fourth nationally in
state spending on K-12 public education and 12th in overall -
state, federal and local outlays on schools.
________
SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "Proposal A: Leave it alone: A return to
local millage elections would undo equity, stability gains," June
4, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl
?/base/news-0/1022998527256530.xml


Michigan Education Report, "Fix Michigan Schools with Proposal
A+," Winter 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=4071


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ACLU SUES SCHOOL OVER SUSPENSION OF STUDENT WRITERS
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DETROIT, Mich. - The American Civil Liberties Union was expected
to file a lawsuit last week in federal court on behalf of two
South Lyon High School students who were suspended for
distributing an underground newspaper.

Joshua Woodcock and Daniel Schaefer were among 14 students
suspended in connection with distributing The First Amendment
newspaper, which contained criticism of an assistant principal,
among other articles.

Woodcock, Schaefer and two other students were suspended for up
to five days for distributing the paper. Ten other students were
suspended for demonstrating against the banning of the paper.

Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU, told The
Detroit News it would ask a federal judge to issue an injunction
allowing the newspaper's distribution next fall, reverse the
suspensions, expunge the students' discipline records and declare
the district's policy unconstitutional.

South Lyon High School Principal Larry Jackson said he couldn't
comment about the lawsuit, but the paper was "irresponsible
journalism" because it encouraged students to break school policy
and laws.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "ACLU to sue school over two suspensions," June 6,
2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0206/06/d01-507751.htm

Ann Arbor News, "ACLU files suit in student newspaper case," June
7, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?
/base/news-0/102346082322530.xml



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NOTICE: NEW ISSUE OF MICHIGAN EDUCATION REPORT RELEASED
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MIDLAND, Mich. - The Spring 2002 issue of Michigan Education
Report is hot off the presses!

Read Michigan Education Report online or look for your hard copy
in the mail.

Topics covered in the Spring 2002 issue:
* State Board of Education adopts school grading plan
* No local autonomy for special education in Michigan
* Strict discipline academies
* Teacher education programs
* The latest education-related legislation
* And much more!

View the Spring 2002 issue at:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/

Subscribe to Michigan Education Report at:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/subscribe.aspx



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MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper
with a circulation of 130,000 published by the Mackinac Center
for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private,
nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Elizabeth H. Moser at
[mailto:med@educationreport.org]
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