Contents of this issue:
  • Jackson schools save by contracting for substitute teachers
  • Shepherd looks at moving election dates
  • Schools offer incentives for enrollment increases
  • Lansing teachers vote down board's proposal

JACKSON, Mich. — The Jackson Public Schools will save about $163,000 a year by hiring a private company to provide substitute teachers, according to The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

The contract with Caledonia-based Professional Educational Service Group begins March 1. The company will manage, hire and pay the district's 277 substitutes. The employees will be able to purchase health insurance and 401(k) plans through PESG, The Citizen Patriot reported.

JPS may also save an additional $108,000 because it would not be required to follow a state law requiring the district to offer full-time employment to subs who teach more than 150 school days, according to The Citizen Patriot.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "JPS to privatize teaching subs," Jan. 17, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Holland contracts for substitute teachers," Dec. 5, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "West Michigan schools contract for substitute teachers," Nov. 21, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Jackson schools will privatize again to save money," May 9, 2006

SHEPHERD, Mich. — Although no decision has been made, the Shepherd schools are considering, like many other districts, moving its elections to November, according to the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun.

The switch is being debated because of the affect it will have on board positions. With biennial elections, more seats would be up for re-election and the terms would be lengthened to six years, the Morning Sun reported.

Holding elections in November can reduce costs for schools because other local elections are normally held then, too, according to the Morning Sun.

"We know there would be some savings to the district," Shepherd Superintendent Terry Baker told the Morning Sun.

Morning Sun, "Shepherd schools consider fall vote," Jan. 22, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Metro Detroit schools move elections to fall," Jan. 23, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Lansing area school districts could move election dates," Jan. 9, 2007

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Secret Ballot?" May 22, 2006

DETROIT — The Bellevue and Grand Rapids schools are offering incentives for increased or sustained enrollment, and other districts may follow suit, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Scott Belt, Bellevue's new superintendent, was offered $300 for each new student he brings into the district. One of his primary goals is to run a publicity campaign to bring students back to their assigned schools in the Bellevue district. Enrollment in the district is down nearly 300 students since 2000, according to the Free Press.

"If we can get the word out, get some good positive promotion going on, maybe we can gain enrollment," Belt told the Free Press.

In the Grand Rapids Public Schools, the board of education and several unions in the district agreed to a new contract that includes incentive-based pay raises for teachers and other personnel. GRPS enrollment has been declining between 800 and 900 students a year and employees will receive varying salary increases based on a sliding scale of how many students choose to leave the district, the Free Press reported.

Although the Royal Oak Public Schools do not offer incentives, Superintendent Thomas Moline agrees that they may be useful.

"I think it stimulates the system," he told the Free Press. "But the bottom line is, you'd better have better quality and better outcomes because parents are very savvy shoppers these days."

Detroit Free Press, "More students, more cash," Jan. 28, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Grand Rapids teachers agree to incentive-based pay," June 27, 2006

Michigan Education Report, "Incentives for Teacher Performance in Government Schools: An Idea Whose Time Has Come," May 30, 2002

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Choice in Michigan: A Primer for Freedom in Education: Lack of Incentives Produces Poor Results and Exacerbates Problems," July 16, 1999

LANSING, Mich. — Ninety-five percent of teachers in the Lansing School District voted against a proposed contract that would have helped the district relieve some of its budget problems, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The proposal called for slower pay increases for the next two years and would have required teachers to contribute 5 percent to their own monthly health insurance premiums in 2007-08 and 8 percent in 2008-09. The union is planning to picket and has passed out surveys to teachers regarding other action. Teachers were asked if they'd be willing to withhold tutoring and bus duty, hold sick-outs, or even participate in a strike, the State Journal reported. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.

The board believes its proposal was fair and necessary.

"It's not like we're asking them to do something different than most school districts in the state," Human Resources Director Sue Dumala said. "It seems like it's falling on deaf ears."

Lansing State Journal, "Lansing teachers say no to proposal," Jan. 29, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Lansing schools may save by cutting teachers' stipend," Nov. 7, 2006

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Budgets: A Crisis of Management, Not Finance," Feb. 11, 2005

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally Responsible School Districts," Dec. 3, 2002

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

Contact Managing Editor Sarah Grether at

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