Contents of this issue:


  • Teachers call in sick, school closed
  • DPS: Agreement in lieu of takeover
  • Schools beef up video surveillance
  • Only write-ins on Holly ballot
  • Parents' e-mail addresses won't be released

TEACHERS CALL IN SICK, SCHOOL CLOSED


REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Twenty-six teachers called in sick to Redford Union's Hilbert Middle School on Monday, forcing the district to send 900 students home, according to WWJ Newsradio 950.

Superintendent Donna Rhodes told WWJ that there is a labor dispute between the district and its teachers over pay and health care. Teachers currently are working under a contract implemented by the school board, the station reported.

"The ... unfortunate thing is that we have had, last week, some very positive negotiations with the teachers' union," Rhodes told WWJ.

Substitute teachers were sent to those elementary schools in the district that also reported higher-than-normal teacher absenteeism on Monday, according to the report.

SOURCE:
WWJ Newsradio 950, "Teacher Absences Force School Closure," Nov. 3, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Redford Union schools file unfair labor charge against teachers," July 31, 2007


DPS: AGREEMENT IN LIEU OF TAKEOVER


DETROIT - The Detroit school board will meet Wednesday to decide whether to agree to budget-cutting measures suggested by a state review team. The alternative is a financial takeover by the state, according to The Detroit News.

Board President Carla Scott said Friday that she believes the board will approve the consent agreement, saying the district wants to work cooperatively with the state, The News reported.

The agreement would require Detroit Public Schools to put together a deficit elimination plan with specific timelines for reducing positions and wages as well as reductions in travel, utility costs, overtime, purchasing and other expenditures, in view of a projected budget that puts spending $408 million over revenue, according to The News.

If the district rejects the agreement, challenges its validity in court or fails to comply with its terms, an emergency financial manager must be appointed to take charge of the district's finances, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury, The News reported.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "Consent agreement may help DPS avert financial takeover," Oct. 31, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS overspending pegged at $408 million for 2009," June 27, 2008


SCHOOLS BEEF UP VIDEO SURVEILLANCE


BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - A number of public schools in Michigan are installing new or additional security cameras, according to newspaper reports in Calhoun, Bay and Saginaw counties.

Six public school districts in Calhoun County will install video systems to monitor school buildings and grounds, paid for with about $500,000 in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, according to The Battle Creek Enquirer.

In Saginaw Township, the board of education approved plans to add 83 digital cameras at Heritage High School, covering every exit and entrance as well as the football stadium and bleachers, at a cost of $88,000, The Saginaw News reported. The system will record and store footage for 30 days.

School board member Barbara Russell said that the equipment should cut down on the number of scuffles, food fights and other disturbances, according to The News.

In Bay County, the Bangor Township School District installed 16 cameras in John Glenn High School and the Essexville-Hampton district upgraded its system by adding hallway cameras in one high school as well as placing cameras in elementary buildings, according to The Bay City Times.

"It's unfortunate that we live in a day and age when there's vandalism and things like that. We just want to protect our facilities," Essexville Superintendent John Mertz told The Times.

SOURCES:
The Battle Creek Enquirer, "Local schools get security cameras," Oct. 17, 2008

The Saginaw News, "Heritage beefing up video surveillance," Oct. 28, 2008

The Bay City Times, "Local schools install security cameras to monitor student and staff safety," Aug. 26, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Wayne-Westland schools get security upgrade," Nov. 13, 2007


ONLY WRITE-INS ON HOLLY BALLOT


HOLLY, Mich. - Nobody filed petitions to run for either of two seats on the Holly Area Schools Board of Education, so voters will choose the winners Tuesday on a write-in basis, according to The Flint Journal.

While no names will appear on the ballot, five people are campaigning for write-in votes, The Journal reported, including incumbent David Rath. Rath told The Journal that people encouraged him to run when no one else expressed interest. Since then, other write-in candidates joining the campaign include a former teacher, firefighter, pipefitter and purchasing executive, according to The Journal.

Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson told The Journal that it is not unusual for Holly candidates to file petitions at the last minute, but that an all-write-in election is uncommon.

SOURCE:
The Flint Journal, "Write-ins only candidates seeking Holly school board seats," Oct. 23, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Legislative Alert: Vote by mail or online," July 16, 2008


PARENT E-MAIL ADDRESSES WON'T BE RELEASED


BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - Bloomfield Hills Public Schools will no longer release parents' e-mail addresses, even to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Free Press had reported earlier that the district twice released addresses in 2007 after FOIA requests, under the advice of an attorney, and that one of the recipients shared them with school board candidates who used them to send campaign messages to parents.

Betsy Erikson, spokeswoman for the district, told the Free Press that the attorney has changed his opinion based on a Michigan Supreme Court decision this summer.

Superintendent Steve Gaynor said the district "will immediately begin protecting parent e-mail addresses from outside release," according to the Free Press.

SOURCE:
The Detroit Free Press, "Bloomfield Hills Schools agrees to withhold parents' e-mail addresses," Oct. 31, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Daily Digest, "Release of e-mail addresses raises questions," Oct. 29, 2008


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

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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