NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON JAN. 2, 2007. THE FIRST ISSUE OF 2007 WILL BE DISTRIBUTED JAN. 9.



Contents of this issue:
  • Granholm signs 'Michigan Promise' scholarships bill
  • Vicksburg support staff take 0.48 percent raise, keep insurance
  • Escanaba nonunion employees choose less expensive health care
  • Win an iPod

GRANHOLM SIGNS 'MICHIGAN PROMISE' SCHOLARSHIPS BILL
LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a bill offering $4,000 state scholarships to high school students who meet certain state requirements and pursue postsecondary education, The Detroit News reported.

The scholarships will start with the class of 2007 and will replace the $2,500 Michigan Merit Award for success on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program high school test. Under the new program, students who do well on the state standardized high school tests and enter college or trade school will receive $1,000 at the beginning of both their freshman and sophomore years and an additional $2,000 after the completion of their second year, according to The News. Students who do not excel on the state tests, but maintain a 2.5 grade point average for two years of postsecondary education will receive $4,000 upon completion of their second year, The News reported.

SOURCES:
The Detroit News, "Granholm signs pledges of students who say they'll go to college," Dec. 19, 2006
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061219/UPDATE/612190436& SearchID=73266751292407

The Detroit News, "Senate OKs $4,000 Merit scholarships," Dec. 14, 2006
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061214/SCHOOLS/612140419& SearchID=73266751833295

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "More diplomas, more ivory tower research won't cure Michigan's ills," March 7, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/7632

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Universities and Economic Development," Sept. 26, 2006
http://www.mackinac.org/7944


VICKSBURG SUPPORT STAFF TAKE 0.48 PERCENT RAISE, KEEP INSURANCE
VICKSBURG, Mich. — Vicksburg Community Schools support staff decided to keep their current health insurance plan and thereby accept the lowest pay increase offered by the school district, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

The Vicksburg school board reportedly offered the support staff six contract options for pay, insurance and other benefits. The staff chose to maintain their present health insurance plan, which was the most expensive plan offered, and receive a pay raise of 0.48 percent, the smallest raise the board offered. If the staff had agreed to less expensive health insurance coverage, they could have seen a pay increase of up to 3.75 percent, the Gazette reported.

SOURCE:
Kalamazoo Gazette, "Vicksburg schools approves contract for support personnel," Dec. 19, 2006
http://www.mlive.com/news/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/news-20/1166545327280750.xml&coll=7

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Blue Cross and MESSA," Sept. 6, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/7907

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "MESSA Reference Page," March 10, 2006
http://www.mackinac.org/7643


ESCANABA NONUNION EMPLOYEES CHOOSE LESS EXPENSIVE HEALTH CARE
ESCANABA, Mich. — Escanaba administrators and nonunion personnel have decided to switch to a less expensive health insurance plan, according to The Escanaba Daily Press.

The Daily Press reported that the contracts, which were ratified last week, include a switch from the Michigan Education Special Services Association Supercare I plan to the less costly MESSA Choices II. All five employment groups in the district are now covered under Choices II, according to The Daily Press. MESSA is a third-party health insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association, a school employees union.

Under the new arrangement, employees will spend more on prescription co-pays, but will also realize lower monthly premiums, The Daily Press reported.

SOURCE:
The Escanaba Daily Press, "School contracts OK'd," Dec. 19, 2006
http://www.dailypress.net/stories/articles.asp?articleID=6654

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Escanaba teachers get raises linked to health care costs," Oct. 10, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/7991

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Decades of Dollars and Disappointment," Oct. 6, 2006
http://www.mackinac.org/7969


WIN AN IPOD
MIDLAND, Mich. — Michigan Education Report is offering readers a chance to win an iPod when they comment on articles in its Winter 2006 issue. Comments can be made via e-mail about stories on alternative teacher certification (http://www.educationreport.org/8017), successful public school reform (http://www.educationreport.org/8026) and Michigan's cap on charter public schools (http://www.educationreport.org/8043

and http://www.educationreport.org/8044). Please visit
www.educationreport.org"> www.educationreport.org for more information.


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper with a circulation of approximately 150,000 published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Sarah Grether at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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