MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 49
Dec. 10, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Survey: Charter schools get high marks
* Engler cuts state budget by $337 million; cuts include education funds
* Detroit district develops new financial auditing plan
* Inkster school board argues with appointed financial manager
* Opinion: Detroit school reforms deserve credit
* Students afraid despite increased school security measures


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SURVEY: CHARTER SCHOOLS GET HIGH MARKS
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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Approximately 72 percent of Michiganders
support charter schools, according to a new survey released by
the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan
State University.

The survey showed strong support for charters, particularly from
adults with school-age children and from blacks. The survey
showed support across lines of age, race, income and political
party.

"It's certainly good news, but not surprising to us. Michigan
parents like to have a choice for their kids' education, and they
see charters as being a quality public school option," Dan
Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Public School Academies,
told the Detroit Free Press.

In Michigan, over 65,000 students attend charter schools - called
public school academies because though independently run, they
are publicly funded. There are more than 180 schools in the
state.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Charters graded high in survey,"
Dec. 5, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/chart5_20021205.htm

Detroit Free Press, "About the poll on charter schools,"
Dec. 5, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/chbox5_20021205.htm



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ENGLER CUTS STATE BUDGET BY $337 MILLION; CUTS INCLUDE EDUCATION FUNDS
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LANSING, Mich. - Gov. John Engler won speedy approval Thursday of
most of his $460 million budget-balancing plan, which cuts
spending for colleges, municipalities and state agencies.

As a result of $337 million in spending cuts, Michigan residents
could see college tuition hikes and trims in state programs and
services.

Delays in merit scholarship awards are also part of the plan,
meaning eligible high school students who pass state exams will
get their $2,500 for college expenses over two years instead of
one.

"While this spending plan is not pretty, it's prudent," state
Budget Director Don Gilmer told The Detroit News. "State revenues
are down again to levels not seen since 1996. Simply put, we
cannot spend more than we have in available revenue."
Michigan, unlike the federal government, has a constitutional
requirement to balance its budget.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Engler cuts budget by $337 million," Dec. 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0212/06/a01-29162.htm



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DETROIT DISTRICT DEVELOPS NEW FINANCIAL AUDITING PLAN
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DETROIT, Mich. - Hiring an auditor general to oversee spending
and forming an audit committee to oversee the auditor general are
two of the changes aimed at keeping tabs on spending, Detroit
Public Schools officials announced Thursday.

The changes follow a preliminary review of the use of district-
issued purchasing cards or P-Cards, debit cards linked to a
department's budget. About 800 employees ranging from
maintenance workers to high-level executives have the cards,
Kenneth Forrest, the district's Chief Financial Officer, told the
Detroit Free Press.

According to the district's review, "there have been instances of
poor judgment or questionable reimbursement requests" involving
the cards. There also have been missing receipts and incomplete
documentation of expenses.

The district's two-page report said "The continuing review may
result in disciplinary action that will be strong and appropriate
for violations, if any, of District policy or law."
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Schools make changes to monitor spending,"
Dec. 6, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/audit6_20021206.htm

Detroit News, "Detroit schools chief questions leaders' bills,"
Dec. 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/06/a01-29217.htm

Detroit News, "District plans closer review of expenses,"
Dec. 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/06/d01-29167.htm

Detroit News, "Detroit Schools to hire auditor," Dec. 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/06/d01-27963.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Detroit schools show financial improvement,"
Dec. 5, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/dps5_20021205.htm



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INKSTER SCHOOL BOARD ARGUES WITH APPOINTED FINANCIAL MANAGER
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INKSTER, Mich. - At the Inkster Public Schools board meeting
Wednesday, there was wrangling over the definition of
"consultation" between school board officials the state-appointed
emergency financial manager.

Lisa Perry, the board treasurer, asked W. Howard Morris, the
Engler-appointed district financial manager, whom he consulted
when he drafted a plan to rescue the debt-ridden district.
Earlier, Morris had told board members and the public to write
their comments about the plan and submit them to him by noon,
Dec. 12. Under the state's fiscal responsibility law, Morris must
seek public input.

However, Morris has the final say on the plan he must submit to
state officials by Dec. 16. Some board members said a true
consultation means Morris should meet with them to discuss ways
to balance the budget and pay off the district's debts.

But Morris, the managing partner of Prairie & Tireman, a Detroit-
based investment firm, said, "It's kind of hard to come to a
happy medium when you have sued me twice."
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Inkster school board spars with financial
manager," Dec. 5, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/ink5_20021205.htm



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OPINION: DETROIT SCHOOL REFORMS DESERVE CREDIT
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DETROIT, Mich. - Detroit schools chief Kenneth Burnley is making
good strides in reforming the city's schools, according to a
recent Detroit News commentary by the president and chief
executive of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Though there is much work left to be done to fix the district's
problems, Richard E. Blouse Jr. says Burnley's efforts to save
money through outsourcing non-instructional services, reform
school construction plans, and complete thorough audits of
school finances are notable.

"We believe Burnley and his management team have made remarkable
progress on a number of fronts to improve the Detroit Public
Schools," Blouse said.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Detroit school reforms deserve credit,"
Dec. 10, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0212/10/a09-31704.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally
Responsible Public School Districts," December 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/s2002-06



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STUDENTS AFRAID DESPITE INCREASED SCHOOL SECURITY MEASURES
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DETROIT, Mich. - Metal detectors and surveillance cameras have
sharply reduced weapons and crime at the nation's schools, but a
government report says students are more afraid on school grounds
than off because of a problem that hasn't changed: the school
bully.

"Away from school, kids can stay away from their enemy. On campus
they can't really escape," Curt Lavarello, who works with school
police officers, told the Associate Press.

Over the years, the percentage of assaults, theft and other
crimes at schools has steadily gone down. Six percent of students
ages 12 to 18 said they were victims of crimes last year,
compared with 10 percent in 1995. The largest drop came for
students in seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

However, a survey last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention showed that 10,000 children stayed home
from school at least once a month because they feared bullies,
and half the children surveyed said they were bullied once a
week.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Students still afraid despite fewer school
weapons, crime," Dec. 10, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/10/schools-32460.htm



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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
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