Contents of this issue:
- Universities, lawmakers spar over tuition increases
- Suttons Bay busing draws complaint
- State commission will develop teacher evaluation tool
- Brighton: Sharing teachers with private schools a win-win
- Report: Number of Michigan high school graduates will shrink
Universities, Lawmakers Spar Over Tuition Increases
LANSING, Mich. — Some state
lawmakers are at odds with three state universities over tuition hikes, and
about $33 million in state funding lies in the balance, according to the
Lansing State Journal.
The state pledged to cut funding this year to universities that raise tuition
more than 7.1 percent, the Journal reported, but now there is disagreement over
whether some schools are following the spirit of the law.
At Michigan State University, for example, tuition this fall will increase by
9.4 percent compared to a year ago, but only 6.9 percent above the summer rate,
the Journal reported. MSU said that means it stayed within state requirements.
State Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, called that “getting cute with the
definition of ‘academic year,’” the Journal reported. While the law does not
specify that the rates be compared year over year, lawmakers said that was
implied, according to the Journal.
MSU officials disagreed at a recent hearing, saying that it approved tuition
hikes last fall but did not fully implement them, choosing instead to use
federal stimulus funds to hold down the rates, according to the Journal. When
that funding ran out, MSU let the tuition hikes take full effect in the summer
term, officials told legislators.
MSU could lose $18.3 million in funding if state Budget Director John Nixon
decides against it, the Journal reported.
Wayne State and Northern Michigan universities are in similar situations, with
the potential to lose $12.8 million and $2.1 million in state funding, respectively,
according to the Journal.
SOURCE: Lansing State Journal, “Tuition hike could cost MSU $18.3M in
funding,” July 22, 2011
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “MSU Tuition Restraint Debate Reaches
Committee,” July 22, 2011
Suttons Bay Busing Draws Complaint
SUTTONS BAY, Mich. — A
national transportation group has filed a federal complaint against a
partnership between Suttons Bay Public Schools and the Bay Area Transportation
Authority under which BATA provides busing for students, according to the
Suttons Bay leases former school buses to BATA, which paints them white and
uses them to provide student transportation, according to Enterprise reports.
The arrangement saved Suttons Bay about $300,000 last year, partly due to
federal transportation grants, according to the reports.
The National School Transportation System, an organization of bus manufacturers
and private transportation providers, has filed a federal complaint saying that
the arrangement breaks federal rules that require public transit to be open to
the public at large, the Enterprise reported. The NSTA hired a private
investigator to act as a “plant” on a BATA bus to verify public access, the
A BATA official said that the routes are open to both students and the general
public and that the fact that the investigator successfully got on and off the
bus negates NSTA’s case, the Enterprise reported.
NSTA members believe they should have had the opportunity to provide student
bus service privately, according to one Enterprise report.
SOURCES: Leelanau Enterprise, “Lawsuit over busing won’t open doors,” July
Leelanau Enterprise, “National group files complaint over BATA’s
school deal,” July 8, 2011
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan School Privatization Survey 2010”
State Commission Will Develop Teacher Evaluation
LANSING, Mich. ? A
state-level commission of education experts, teachers and policymakers will
draft a new tool for evaluating teachers under Michigan’s new teacher tenure
law, according to Michigan Public Radio.
The new law makes it easier for school districts to dismiss educators who are
considered “ineffective” in the classroom, and also makes job performance the
key element in determining layoffs, rather than seniority, according to MPR.
The commission will devise a tool for school districts to use in determining
teacher effectiveness, MPR reported. The model is due to Gov. Rick Snyder by
April 1, 2012, for implementation that year, according to MPR. In 2012, a
teacher’s rating on the new evaluation tool will account for 20 percent of that
educator’s rating; by 2014 it will account for half of the teacher’s rating,
State Rep. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, told MPR that the Legislature will vote
on the final evaluation tool, but John Austin, president of the Michigan State
Board of Education, told MPR he does not believe that’s the case.
Snyder will appoint the commission members, Austin told MPR.
SOURCE: Michigan Public Radio, “Teacher tenure law requires new ‘evaluation
tool’ for educators,” July 21, 2011
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Will Schools Keep Ignoring Teacher
Effectiveness When Setting Pay?” July 22, 2011
Brighton: Sharing Teachers With Private Schools
BRIGHTON, Mich. —
Brighton Area Schools educators will teach music, foreign language and other
elective courses in area private schools beginning this fall, a shared services
arrangement that school officials called a win-win, the BrightonPatch reported.
Two Catholic schools, one Christian school and a Montessori school will
participate, according to the Patch. Brighton Area Schools benefits because the
private school children can be counted as part-time public school students,
which increases the district’s per-pupil funding from the state, the Patch
Private school officials said the arrangement allows them to offer more
specialty courses without hiring added staff, according to the Patch. They also
told the Patch that the arrangement gives the private school parents a return
on the tax dollars they pay to support public schools.
Jack Pelon, owner of School Financial Solutions, is coordinating the
partnership, according to the Patch.
SOURCE: BrightonPatch, “Brighton area schools to share teachers with local private schools,”
July 7, 2011
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Private schools cope with weak economy,” May
Report: Number of Michigan High School Graduates
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The
number of high school graduates will remain fairly flat nationwide through
2020, a new report predicts, but Michigan can expect a 12 percent decline due
to outmigration and declining birth rates.
The report, “Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic Imperative for More
Adults to Complete College,” was released recently by the Center for Law and
Social Policy and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems,
McClatchy News reported.
Michigan will be joined by Ohio, North Dakota and New England states such as
Massachusetts and New York in seeing the most pronounced drops, according to a
McClatchy News report in The Detroit News. Conversely, Utah, Nevada and Arizona
will see 25 to 35 percent more high school graduates in the next decade, the
“Not Just Kid Stuff” report said.
Anticipating the decline, some colleges are already trying to boost enrollment
by encouraging college dropouts to return and by offering more flexible
scheduling and online courses, McClatchy reported.
The “Not Just Kid Stuff” authors said that even as the number of high school
graduates is expected to decline in Michigan, the number of jobs requiring
post-secondary training will increase.
SOURCES: The Detroit News, “Michigan among states facing decline in high school grads,” July 21,
Center for Law and Social Policy, “Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic
Imperative for More Adults to Complete College,” June 2011
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Is College Accessibility Really a Problem?”
Oct. 28, 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.