Contents of this issue:
- Michigan has oversupply of new teachers
- Detroit unions sue over pay cut
- Connecticut parents angry over report on union tactics
- Plymouth-Canton, Livonia consider food service merger
- Most school millages defeated
Michigan has Oversupply of New Teachers
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An oversupply of new teachers
combined with fewer students has created a tough job market for education graduates
in Michigan, and some are leaving the state to look for work, The Grand Rapids
While some public school officials view that as a “drain”
on public education, others say it creates a buyer’s market for school
districts looking to hire, according to The Press.
Several factors are driving the oversupply of teachers, The
Press reported. One is the dwindling number of public school students — down by
8 percent in the past five years. Another is that Michigan universities are
turning out more teachers than ever, The Press reported. Martin Ackley, a
spokesman with the Michigan Department of Education, told The Press that the
state has granted 7,980 provisional teaching certificates to new teachers
already this year, up 35 percent from the year before and the most since 2007.
Tight budgets also are putting a damper on school district hiring, a scenario that recent graduates are likely to find everywhere, not just in Michigan, one school superintendent told The Press.
Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler
criticized reductions in public school funding that he said could have been
used to hire top-quality teachers that may be leaving the state, The Press
reported. But Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said that his
district receives 1,000 applications per job vacancy and has no difficulty
finding quality teachers, The Press reported.
The Grand Rapids Press, “Say
goodbye to Michigan teachers: As school budgets shrink, so do their numbers,”
Aug. 8, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Districts Ignoring Labor Market
Signals,” May 2, 2011
Detroit Unions Sue over Pay Cut
DETROIT — Unions representing Detroit teachers, office
workers and paraprofessionals have filed a federal lawsuit over a 10 percent
pay cut imposed by Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Roy
Roberts, The Detroit News reported.
The suit alleges that a new law allowing Roberts and other
emergency managers to modify existing union contracts is unconstitutional,
according to The News. The unions have asked the court to block a pay cut and
other concessions that Roberts has said are necessary to address the district’s
$327 million budget deficit, according to The News.
The suit alleges that Roberts’ order violates a contract
clause in the U.S. Constitution and a “takings” clause in the Fifth Amendment
regarding taking of private property for public use, The News reported.
The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit and was
assigned to U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh, The News reported.
The Detroit News, “Unions
sue to block 'unprecedented' DPS pay cut, challenge new EM law,” Aug. 5,
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Acts of God: Don't like the EFM law?
There's an alternative: Rein in government employee unions,” April 20, 2011
Connecticut Parents Angry over Report on Union Tactics
HARTFORD, Conn. — Lawmakers and parents are outraged over a
report detailing how a teachers union successfully pressured Connecticut
legislators to water down a bill intended to give parents more power over
failing schools, the Hartford Courant reported.
Titled “How Connecticut Diffused the Parent Trigger,” the
PowerPoint report describes the American Federation of Teachers’ efforts to
derail the legislation as well as its role in at least one legislator’s
subsequent electoral defeat, according to the Courant.
Connecticut parent advocates and members of the Black and
Puerto Rican Caucus wanted a “parent trigger” bill that would give 51 percent
of parents at a failing school who signed a petition the ability to force
change, according to the Courant.
The final legislation instead calls for parents to hold a
majority of seats on school governance councils and authorizes them to
recommend changes if the schools fail to meet federal guidelines for three
consecutive years, the report said.
The PowerPoint presentation said that the governance
councils “are advisory and do not have true governing authority,” the Courant
The presentation was posted at an AFT website but later
removed, and the union has since said the report did not reflect its position,
the Courant reported.
Hartford Courant, “Report
By Teachers Union Angers Lawmakers, Parent Advocates In State,” Aug. 4,
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “PowerPoint Postscript,”
Aug. 20, 2010
Plymouth-Canton, Livonia Consider Food Service Merger
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Plymouth-Canton Community Schools may
take over food service operations in Livonia Public Schools, a move that
officials said could help the districts save money through combined purchases
and might mean extra funding from the state, according to the Livonia Observer.
While Plymouth-Canton would manage the joint program,
Livonia food service employees would be retained, according to Lisa Abbey,
Livonia’s director of business services, the Observer reported.
Livonia officials anticipate that Plymouth-Canton’s
involvement would boost lunch sales; although the districts are of similar
size, Plymouth-Canton sells about 10,000 lunches daily compared to 4,000 in
Livonia, according to the Observer.
Still, Livonia’s food program is self-supporting, with a
surplus of $50,000 to $150,000 each year, Abbey said, according to the
Observer. If higher sales resulted in additional revenue, some costs in the
general fund could be covered by food service income, she said, the Observer
Plymouth-Canton returned to an in-house food service
operation two years ago, ending a 20-year relationship with the private firm
Sodexo, the Observer reported.
The state has pledged extra per-pupil funding to districts
that follow four of five “best practices,” among them consolidating services
with other entities.
Livonia Observer, “Plymouth-Canton
District considering food service merger with Livonia,” July 31, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Extra
K-12 Cash to Be Tied to Mandatory Health Care Cost Sharing and Other Reforms,”
May 22, 2011
Many School Millages Defeated
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. — School millages fared poorly in many
locales across the state last week, as ballot proposals in Macomb, Kent,
Jackson, Van Buren and Manistee counties all were turned down, according to the
Michigan Information & Research Service.
Lamphere Schools in Oakland County and Bendle Public Schools
in Genessee County were exceptions, each passing two millages, MIRS reported.
Voters said no to a 30-year, $45 million request in the
Center Line School District for technology, play equipment, athletic fields and
other infrastructure, MIRS reported, while a 10-year, 0.5-mill in Wyoming
Public Schools in Kent County went down 63 to 37 percent.
The Jackson Intermediate School District request for a
0.77-mill special education tax was narrowly defeated, as was a $14 million
bond proposal for Manistee County Area Public Schools, MIRS reported. Voters in
Covert Public Schools in Van Buren County also turned down a request for a
20-year sinking fund.
Voters in the Mecosta Community College district turned
down a 0.27-mill Headlee override for the second time, MIRS reported.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., “Voters Recall Local
Officials, Local Millages Pass, School Proposals Fail,” Aug. 2, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Reject a Tax Hike? It’ll be Back,”
June 3, 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.