Contents of this issue:
  • Novi DVD promotes district's high school
  • Students cram Northville Public Schools
  • Bullock Creek custodians take cuts to avoid contracting
  • Study finds metro Detroit teachers highest paid
  • Grosse Pointe Catholic school receives national honor

NOVI, Mich. — Novi Public Schools is looking to retain its eighth graders with a new DVD to attract parents and students to its high school, according to the Novi News.

Superintendent Peter Dion believes this promotional tool is important to keep students in the district.

"Parents have choices on where to send their kids ... and we want to make sure they know what our high school has to offer," he told the News.

The district produced about 500 DVDs, one for each family with an eighth-grade student. Dion believes this could end up being one of the contributing factors to keeping students in the Novi schools. He notes that parents aren't going to send their kids to their assigned public school by default anymore, according to the News, especially with competition from other sources, such as private schools and charter public schools.

"We need to be aggressive about (promoting ourselves)," Dion told the News. "I have a competing school right across Wixom Road (Detroit Catholic Central) that I have to pay attention to and they're making it more convenient, just in terms of distance. So I want to make sure eighth graders know what we have to offer in our high school."

Novi News, "District DVD Promotes High School, Aims for Eighth Graders," Feb. 1, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Schools offer incentives for enrollment increases," Jan. 30, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Ypsilanti schools compete for Ann Arbor students," Jan. 16, 2007

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

DETROIT — As many metro Detroit school districts are seeing enrollment losses, Northville Public Schools is having trouble finding room for all of its students, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Northville area is one of the fastest growing regions in the state, and all of the district's six elementary schools are at or over capacity. Demographers estimate a continued increase in enrollment, and the district is exploring options to deal with the situation, the Free Press reported.

"It's a pleasant problem to have," Superintendent Leonard R. Rezmierski told the Free Press. "We've always been expanding."

Last February, residents voted down two bond proposals for, among other projects, a new elementary school. Rezmierski believes presenting another proposal is out of the question and is looking at alternative methods. The district is considering increasing class sizes and building portable classrooms, according to the Free Press.

"Class size is going to have to go up," Elizabeth Kwiecinski, the mother of three children in the Northville schools, told the Free Press. "I think the teachers and students will be flexible."

Detroit Free Press, "Students jam school district," Feb. 4, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Children flee Detroit schools," Jan. 23, 2007

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

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Fewer Students = More Money?" Oct. 8, 2004

MIDLAND, Mich. — The Bullock Creek Schools decided against contracting for its janitorial services after its custodial and maintenance employees union agreed to staffing cuts and an insurance change, according to the Midland Daily News.

The district cut two custodial full-time equivalency positions and one FTE maintenance position. The maintenance position, which dealt primarily with mowing, will be contracted out at an hourly rate. These decisions will result in savings between $140,000 and $150,000, the Daily News reported.

Bullock Creek also will save approximately $60,000 by switching health insurance and could save more if employees take advantage of early retirement or resignation options, according to the Daily News.

Superintendent John Hill believes these cuts were an issue of reducing expenditures.

"It was never our desire to look at outsourcing because of dissatisfaction with the custodians," he told the Daily News. "It was always a cost containment issue in recognition of the financial need the district faces."

Midland Daily News, "Creek says no to replacing custodians," Jan. 30, 2007 dept_id=472542&rfi=6

Michigan Education Digest, "Brandywine schools pleased with new janitorial service," Jan. 16, 2007

Michigan Education Report, "Beyond brooms, burgers and buses," Nov. 21, 2006

Michigan Education Report, "Competitive contracting grows despite myths," Sept. 6, 2006

DETROIT — A study released by The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research found that teachers in metro Detroit have the highest pay of 66 metropolitan areas nationwide, according to The Detroit News.

The study found that metro Detroit teachers made an average of $47.28 an hour, compared to a national average of $34.06, The News reported.

The study also examined the correlation between teacher pay and graduation rates and found the metro Detroit graduation rate to be 67 percent. No positive relationship was found between higher salaries and graduation rates, according to The News.

"What we found is there is no relation to higher relative teacher pay and higher student achievement," said Jay Greene, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, according to The News.

The American Federation of Teachers-Michigan disagrees. Spokeswoman Beth Thoreson said the union believes incentives have more to do with performance than salaries alone.

"To bring in the very best possible teachers, you have to have incentives," she told The News. "In this country, incentives look like dollars."

The Detroit News, "Study: Metro Detroit teachers earn most," Jan. 31, 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

Michigan Education Report, "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality: How Do They Relate?" Apr. 16, 1999

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. — St. Paul on the Lake Catholic School, located in Grosse Pointe Farms, is the only school in Michigan this year to receive a national Blue Ribbon award, according to The Detroit News.

The U.S. Department of Education gave out 200 of these awards to schools that model high standards and achievement while also promoting the accountability of staff and students.

Previous Michigan winners include Royal Oak Shrine Catholic School in 2005 and Guardian Angels Catholic School in Clawson in 2003. The Blue Ribbon can be won by any public or private school that meets the proper criteria.

The Detroit News, "Grosse Pointe Farms school to receive national recognition for academic success," Feb. 1, 2007

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The School Choice Movement's Greatest Failure," Aug. 7, 2006

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Catholic Schools and the Common Good," Apr. 28, 2005

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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