Contents of this issue:
- Latest DPS reform hinges on principals
- Godfrey-Lee gets $2.5M in improvement grants
- Holly Academy making room for more students
- Stimulus funds buffered Allegan budget
- School for pregnant teens to stay open - as charter
- Meridian considers joining New Tech Network
Latest DPS reform hinges on principals
— Gov. Rick Snyder wants to remove the worst-performing
schools in Detroit from district control and put them into an “Education
Achievement System,” media reports said.
School principals would have expanded powers in the new system, including
making hiring and firing decisions, and would have to spend 95 percent of all
funding “in the classroom,” The Detroit News reported. Principals and teachers
would make operational decisions, according to the Free Press.
Thirty-nine schools will be carved out from DPS and join the new system as of
2012-2013; eventually the system will expand to include all low-performing
schools statewide, the Free Press reported.
In related news, Snyder and DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said they are
working to secure enough financial support from foundations, philanthropic and
business groups to provide two years of college tuition or vocational training
to all DPS graduates, The News reported. Those entities, as well as Eastern
Michigan University, are expected to provide the system with educational
expertise as well, media reported.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the Obama administration supports the
plan, according to the Free Press. Some parts of the proposal would require
legislative approval, the Free Press reported.
Michigan legislators already passed an education reform package in 2009 that
required low-achieving schools to implement turnaround plans or else be subject
to state takeover, The News reported.
Detroit News, “DPS reform plan includes more money for classrooms - power
for principals,” June 20, 2011
Free Press, “Sweeping reform plan empowers principals, teachers in
low-performing Michigan schools,” June 20, 2011
Center for Public Policy, “Center Study Compares Financial Data for
Michigan’s Urban, Suburban, Town and Rural School Districts,” May 31, 2011
Godfrey-Lee Gets $2.5M in Improvement Grants
WYOMING, Mich. — Godfrey-Lee Public Schools will receive
two additional federal grants on top of an earlier School Improvement Grant,
putting the total at more than $2.5 million, according to The Grand Rapids
The newest grants are intended to improve math skills and
the “culture and climate” at Lee High School, Superintendent David Britten told
The high school was among 92 earmarked by the state in 2010
as “low-achieving” due to poor test scores, The Press reported. The grant funds
are allocated over three years; the district began using funds this year to
improve student literacy, according to the Press.
A majority of the school’s students come from limited
English-speaking households, the Press reported.
Another program funded through the grants will be this
summer’s two-week Algebra Camp, in which incoming ninth-graders will get a head
start on the fall coursework, according to The Press. Some students enter high
school already behind on math skills, Britten told The Press.
The Grand Rapids Press, “Godfrey-Lee schools awarded
$625,000 more in federal funds,” June 14, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Low-performers eligible for
grants,” June 15, 2010
Holly Academy Making Room for More Students
HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A major expansion will allow Holly
Academy to add 100 more students to its roster, The Flint Journal reported.
Officials at the K-8 public charter school said the new wing will be open for
the 2012-2013 school year, according to the report.
Fall enrollment stands at 849, with 39 students on a
waiting list, Director Julie Kildee told The Journal. The academy recently was
reauthorized as a School of Excellence by the Michigan Department of Education
based on standardized test scores, according to a separate report in the
“We’re thrilled. This has been our dream for many years and
we’ve worked really hard to grow our enrollment, our academic programs so we
could see this day,” Kildee told the Journal.
In all, the expansion will create space for four new
classrooms, The Journal reported.
The Flint Journal, “Holly Academy breaks ground on
15,000-square-foot addition to make room for growing enrollment,” June 15, 2011
Tri-County Times, “Holly Academy receives distinguished
award from Michigan Department of Education,” June 12, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Charter school demand
continues to rise,” Feb. 8, 2010
Stimulus Funds Buffered Allegan Budget
ALLEGAN, Mich. — Federal stimulus money worked to buffer
the Allegan Public Schools budget in the past year, The Allegan County News
reported, helping to create a fund balance that will pay for a projected
$900,000 gap between spending and revenue in 2011-2012.
The general fund balance is projected to be $3.1 million as
of the close of this fiscal year and $2.2 million the following year, business
manager Amy Christman told school board members at a recent meeting, The News
Spending increases next year include $475,000 more in
retirement benefit costs, a $280,000 increase in health insurance, a 1 percent
pay raise for employees as well as “step” increases for teachers, and about
$160,000 to shift to all-day kindergarten, The News reported.
The district estimates it will save $322,000 through an
early retirement incentive program; it also has reduced spending on supplies,
athletics, maintenance and technology, according to The News.
The Allegan County News, “School deficit reaches $900K,”
June 15, 2011
Michigan Capitol Con
fidential, “Politicians May Prop Up -
But Not Reform - ‘One of the Best Public Pensions Around,’” May 20, 2011
School for Pregnant Teens to Stay Open — as Charter
DETROIT — A high school for pregnant teens and teen-age
parents in Detroit will remain open, but as a public charter school rather than
a Detroit Public Schools operation, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Catherine Ferguson Academy will keep its name and location,
but will become part of the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy network, a charter
school operation run by Detroit-based Evans Solutions, the Free Press reported.
Catherine Ferguson supporters had protested the planned
closure and gained national publicity for weeks, according to the Free Press.
In related news, two DPS alternative schools for students who have been
expelled will be closed, and those students now will be transferred to one of
the eight campuses in the Blanche Kelso Bruce network, the Free Press reported.
School officials said that G. Asenath Andrews will remain
as principal of Catherine Ferguson Academy and will have more authority over
the school budget and hiring once the school is a charter operation, the Free
Press reported. DPS said it needed to close the schools because of expenses,
according to the report.
Detroit Free Press, “Protestors cheer final-hour reprieve
of Catherine Ferguson Academy for pregnant and parenting teens,” June 17, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Revenues and Spending
of Michigan’s Urban, Suburban, Town and Rural School Districts,” May 31, 2011
considers joining New Tech Network
Mich. — Meridian Public Schools is considering joining the New Tech Network and
implementing a project-based approach to high school that is heavy on
technology, according to the Midland Daily News.
High School would join six other Michigan schools in the California-based
network, which emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math education,
the Daily News reported.
New Tech school requires a $450,000 franchise fee, paid over four years, as
well as the cost to purchase any needed technology or make facility
improvements, according to the Daily News. There also is a one-year training
Superintendent Doug Fillmore told school board members at a recent meeting that
the nearby Dow Chemical Co., and other local businesses and organizations may
offer support, the Daily News reported.
issues, potential loss of students and potential opposition to the new approach
all would have to be weighed as well, according to the Daily News.
have an opportunity to be a leader and to create our niche," trustee Joe
Midland Daily News, “Focus on
technology: Meridian board considers revamping education philosophy,” June 14,
Michigan Education Report,
“Project ReImagine Taking Shape in N.I.C.E: Online and project-based learning
key elements,” July 16, 2010
An item in the June 14 edition
of Michigan Education Digest should have said that a study examining the
potential savings from sharing noninstructional services among members of the
Ingham Intermediate School District would be $9.3 to $13.9 million. The figures
were incorrect in the source article, which has since been updated.
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.