Contents of this issue:
- Bobb ready to modify union contracts
- Bill would require health cost sharing by public workers
- Lansing School District works to head off $25M deficit
- Intervention said to lower special education count
- Race to the Top funded for another year
Bobb Ready to Modify Union Contracts
DETROIT — Layoff notices that went out in Detroit Public
Schools last week were no surprise, but a letter announcing potential changes
in the teachers’ union contract is a first under a new state law, according to
an Associated Press report posted at Mlive.com.
Nearly 5,500 Detroit Public Schools teachers and 248
administrators will receive layoff or non-renewal notices in anticipation of
declining enrollment, according to AP.
Members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers also will get
letters noting possible changes in their collective bargaining agreement with
the district, AP reported. A new state
law gives emergency financial managers
like Robert Bobb, who has been the DPS emergency manager since March 2009, more
authority to make changes in contract provisions, AP reported.
Bobb did not elaborate on what changes he might make, AP
reported, but a Wall Street Journal report said that he may target seniority
schools send layoff papers to all teachers,” April 14, 2011
The Wall Street Journal, “Detroit
Moves Against Unions,” April 18, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Taking Steps in the Right
Direction,” April 8, 2011
Bill Would Require Health Cost Sharing by Public Workers
LANSING, Mich. — A Senate committee has approved
legislation that would require K-12 school employees, among other public
workers, to pay at least 20 percent of their health care premiums, The
Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township, said Senate Bill 7
would reduce government spending while preserving services for taxpayers, The
Gazette reported. It would apply to local government, K-12 school districts,
community colleges and universities.
If adopted, the bill would become mandatory on January 1 or
when current union contracts expire.
As of 2009, the average contribution among public school teachers
to their health care premium was 4 percent, according to research by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The Mackinac Center publishes Michigan Education Digest.
Ray Holman, a member of the state employee union UAW 6000,
said that health benefit cost sharing should be decided at the bargaining
table, The Gazette reported.
The Senate Fiscal Agency calculated that the measure could
save more than $500 million, according to The Gazette.
The Kalamazoo Gazette, “Health
cost sharing by Michigan public workers passes first test,” April 13, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Beware Legislators
Posturing on 20 Percent Co-pay Proposal,” April 18, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Senate Set to Help
Schools Save Health-Care Dollars,” April 14, 2011
Intervention Said to Lower Special Education Count
ALPENA, Mich. — School districts in the Alpena area are
seeing a decline in the number of students identified as eligible for special
education services, which officials attribute to intervention programs,
according to The Alpena News.
The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District
school board learned at a recent meeting that the special education count
dropped by 6.5 percent in the past year, The News reported. Much of the decline
has been in the category of learning disabilities, Superintendent Brian Wilmot
said, according to The News.
The district offers intervention programs in reading,
writing and behavior that are intended to help students in that category, according
to the report.
“What this tells me is the investment that this board and
this district has made in these student programs ... is paying great
dividends,” Wilmot said, according to The News.
The Alpena News, “Special
ed drops 6.5 percent,” April 14, 2011
Michigan Education Report, “Specializing in special education,”
Feb. 1, 2010
Lansing School District Works to Head Off $25M Deficit
LANSING, Mich. — Facing a $25 million projected deficit in
2011-2012, Lansing School District officials are considering school closures, a
10 percent wage reduction and elimination of some jobs, while a union official
says administration also should be trimmed, according to the Lansing State
At a recent school board meeting, the district’s chief
financial officer said the district could save $12 million if teachers and
other labor groups agree to a 10 percent wage reduction, the Journal
reported. The current teachers’ union
contract expires on June 30, according to the Journal.
The board, itself divided on many issues, has voted to
close one elementary school and is expected to vote later this month on closing
a second building, the Journal reported. The district also is considering
eliminating 70 positions.
Teachers’ union President Jerry Swartz has called for
administrative reductions, including cutting the superintendent’s cabinet from
seven to five members and wage concessions among those remaining, the Journal
Lansing State Journal, “Sharply
divided Lansing board must fix $25M deficit before July 1,” April 16, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The School Employee Concession Myth,”
Dec. 24, 2010
Race to the Top Funded Again
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Funding for another year of Race to the
Top competition was preserved by Congress in its recent budget battle, while
the U.S. Department of Education’s overall budget was sliced by about $1
billion, to $68.5 billion, according to Education Week magazine. That total
does not include Pell Grant money.
Debate over the department’s 2011 budget resulted in
elimination of several smaller, targeted programs, including grants for
educational technology, while larger Title I grants and special education state
grants were maintained, the report said. The budget also includes funding for
another year of Investing in Innovation, or i3, competitive grants, the report
Many expect further debate when Congress tackles the budget
for fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, Education Week reported.
Education Week, “Federal
Budget’s Approval Sets Stage for Future Battles,” April 14, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Michigan 21st in Race to the Top,”
March 30, 2010
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
Report (https://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org),
a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.