Contents of this issue:
- EMU asks unions to give up raises
considers ‘parent petition’ voucher
- Armada keeps MESSA, freezes salary schedule
- Tennis star Agassi backing $500M charter school fund
- DPS won’t release draft budget
EMU Asks Unions to Give Up Raises
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Eastern Michigan University may cut up
to 70 positions — none of them faculty — depending on whether unionized
employees agree to give up planned pay raises in the coming year, according to
The university faces a $23 million budget gap next
year, created by a spending plan that is $12 million higher than the current
year against an anticipated $11.4 million decrease in state funding, the report
President Susan Martin said in an email to the campus
community that if all employees forgo pay raises, it would save about $3.2
million, AnnArbor.com reported. She announced earlier that non-union employees
will not receive a raise next year and that cell phone allowances will be
eliminated, the report said.
The contract already in place between the university and
the faculty union calls for a 2 percent pay increase beginning in September,
according to AnnArbor.com. Union secretary Howard Bunsis told AnnArbor.com that
the university is overstating the problem and that that there is “no justification”
for a pay freeze.
Union leaders have suggested cutting administrators and
their salaries, as well as athletic spending, the report said, which Martin
told AnnArbor.com are already part of the plan. She said a tuition increase is
likely, but did not predict the amount.
Michigan University President Susan Martin asks unions to forgo raises for next
year,” June 3, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Public
universities spending more on administrators,” March 29, 2011
considers ‘parent petition’ voucher
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Residents could petition to create a new
school voucher program in Green Bay, Wis., under legislation passed by a
committee of the Wisconsin Legislature, an advocacy group is reporting.
The legislation is now headed to the full Wisconsin
Assembly, according to a press release from the American Federation for
If a petition were successful, eligible families in Green
Bay could access vouchers to send their children to qualifying private schools,
the report said. In a press release, the federation called the “parent
petition” for a school voucher program the first of its kind in the country,
noting that California residents used a “parent trigger” law there to convert a
failing elementary school into a public charter school, the report said.
The new voucher program, if triggered by a petition, would
begin with 250 students in the first year, 500 in the second and progress to no
cap on voucher enrollment in subsequent years, the press release said.
American Federation for Children, “Wisconsin Legislature
Moves Forward with ‘Parent Petition’ Voucher Effort for Green Bay,” June 4,
Michigan Education Digest, “School choice programs gain
ground,” April 12, 2011
Armada Keeps MESSA, Freezes Salary
ARMADA, Mich. — Teachers in
Armada Area Schools have ratified a two-year contract that calls for freezing
the salary schedule in both years and temporarily halting automatic “step”
increases, according to The (New Baltimore) Voice.
Members of the Armada Education
Association will continue to receive health insurance through the Michigan
Education Special Services Association, a third-party administrator affiliated
with the Michigan Education Association, The Voice reported. They will
contribute $80 per month for family coverage or lesser amounts for single or
two-person plans, The Voice reported. It was not clear from the report if those
amounts are an increase over previous years.
The new contract calls for
resuming “step” increases in the third trimester of the 2012-2013 school year,
according to The Voice.
Superintendent Arnold Kummerow
said no teacher layoffs are currently planned, though some could occur
depending on student enrollment in specific courses, The Voice reported.
Armada may qualify for extra
funding as a rural district and one that has contracted out for
non-instructional services, according to The Voice.
“Contracting out services has
kept us solvent through these tough times,” Kummerow said, according to The
The (New Baltimore) Voice, “Armada
School Board approves new teacher contract,” May 31, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Extra K-12 Cash to Be Tied to Mandatory
Health Care Cost Sharing and Other Reforms,” May 22, 2011
Tennis Star Agassi Backing $500M Charter School Fund
LOS ANGELES — Tennis champion Andre Agassi has helped
create a real estate investment fund intended to pump $500 million into
building charter public schools nationally, according to Bloomberg News.
Agassi and Canyon Capital Realty Advisers LLC have created
the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, the report said. Plans call
for using the fund to develop more than 75 urban campuses with space for 40,000
students within four years, according to Bloomberg.
The fund will develop facilities for charter school
managers, lease them to school operators and ultimately allow the schools to
purchase the campuses, Bloomberg reported. The fund is the first for-profit
investment vehicle dedicated to building charter schools, with investors
expected to receive a return based on the rental and sales income, according to
A lack of new facilities is one of the greatest obstacles
to charter school growth, Bobby Turner, chairman of Canyon Capital, told
The new fund will “allow us to access traditional capital,”
Agassi, 41, told Bloomberg. He founded the Andre Agassi College Preparatory
Academy, a charter school in Las Vegas, in 2001.
Bloomberg reported that University of Michigan regents have
approved a $15 million investment in the fund.
Bloomberg News, “Andre
Agassi Forms Charter-School Fund With Canyon Capital,” June 2, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Charter School Demand Continues to Rise,”
Feb. 8, 2010
DPS Won’t Release Draft Budget
DETROIT — Two school board members want Detroit Public
Schools to publicly release the 2011-2012 draft budget it submitted to the
state, saying taxpayers have a right to know the details, The Detroit News
The district is under emergency financial management and
declined to release a copy of the spending plan to The News, the paper
reported. District spokesman Steve Wasko called it a “working discussion
draft,” which Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis said is
under review, according to The News. A public hearing on the budget is
scheduled for June 23, the report said.
Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts is expected to make
final decisions soon on school closures, layoffs and service consolidations as
the district tries to work its way out of deficit, according to The News.
Board President Anthony Adams and board member Elena
Herrada called for the draft to be released, according to The News, though
under the terms of emergency financial management, the board currently has no
“Although we have no oversight, they have a responsibility
to share the budget,” Adams said.
Russ Bellant, parent of a DPS graduate, told The News that
the draft should be made public so that taxpayers can be part of the discussion
and planning process.
Keith Johnson, president of Detroit Federation of Teachers,
told The News that he has not seen the draft, but that it is based on a
district of 68,000 students, down from the current 73,000.
The Detroit News, “Board:
Take wraps off Detroit Schools draft budget filed with state,” June 2, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Center Study
Compares Financial Data for Michigan’s Urban, Suburban, Town and Rural School
Districts,” May 31, 2011
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.