Contents of this issue:
- Teachers likely to pay larger share of health care
- Judge: CMU faculty must work as fact finding proceeds
- Kansas City superintendent takes on Michigan’s worst
- Madison contract includes schedule freeze
- Would ‘family leave’ boost school involvement?
Health Care Spending Limit Bill Sent to Snyder
LANSING, Mich. — A new bill intended to rein in government
spending on public employee health care plans is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder
following House and Senate approval on Wednesday, according to The Detroit
If Gov. Snyder signs it, the legislation would cap public
employers’ contribution toward employee health insurance at $5,500 for an
individual, $11,000 for a couple and $15,000 for a family plan, The News
reported. Alternatively, the employer and employee could split the cost 80
percent to 20 percent, respectively, according to The News.
The measure would apply to municipalities, counties, school
districts, the Legislature and other public entities, The News reported, but
not to state workers under the authority of the Michigan Civil Service
Local government entities and school
districts that refuse to enact the caps could lose state funding, according to
a separate report by The Associated Press. However, a city or county could opt
out of the mandates and still retain all state funding if two-thirds of its
governing body agrees to do so, AP reported. School districts are not allowed
to opt out, according to AP.
“For too long, (public employee health care) has been like
going to a grocery store with your shopping cart and picking everything you
want off the shelf,” said Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, according to The
News. “Now we have to be aware of what we are spending.”
“It's an act of big government to impose its will on small
governments,” Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, said Wednesday, The News
The Detroit News, “Health
care cap for public employers sent to Snyder,” Aug. 25, 2011
The Associated Press, “Health
care spending cap seen as another blow to unions,” Aug. 25, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public
Policy, “Benefits in Balance”
Judge: CMU Faculty Must Work as Fact Finding Proceeds
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — An Isabella County judge ruled
Friday that Central Michigan University faculty must continue to teach classes
as fact finding proceeds between the faculty union and the administration over
a new contract, The Saginaw News reported.
The Faculty Association, which represents about 600 tenured
or tenure-track faculty, and the university administration will present their
cases to a Michigan Employment Relations Commission appointee in three hearings
in early September, according to The News. Faculty were on strike for one day before the university sought a court injunction.
In the interim, the university must offer faculty a $10/$20
prescription drug benefit plan through the Michigan Educational Special
Services Association, The News reported, and pay them salary and other benefits
according to the contract that expired June 20.
The judge also said that the faculty can resume picketing,
The News reported.
The Saginaw News, “Isabella
County judge extends injunction, faculty must teach,” Aug. 26, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “CMU Strike: Standing Firm is Not Bad Faith,”
Aug. 22, 2011
Kansas City Superintendent Takes on Michigan’s Worst
DETROIT — John Covington, former chancellor of Kansas City,
Mo., schools, will head the Michigan authority charged with overseeing the
state’s worst-performing schools, The Detroit News reported.
Covington will head the new Education Achievement System,
which is charged with running the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the
state, beginning with 34 schools in Detroit in 2012-2013, according to The
Some criticized the $175,000 signing bonus and $225,000
base salary that Covington will receive under a four-year contract, but a
spokesman for the Kansas City district as well as the teachers’ union president
there both praised Covington’s leadership, The News reported.
“(He helped) bring a new energy to the district,” Andrea
Flinders, president of the Kansas City chapter of the American Federation of
Teachers, told The News.
Under Covington’s tenure, the Kansas City schools grouped
elementary students by ability and required them to demonstrate skills before
moving on to the next grade, supporters told The News.
The Detroit News, “Covington
to run troubled Michigan schools,” Aug. 27, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Detroit
Unions Sue over Pay Cut,” Aug. 8, 2011
Madison Contract Includes Schedule Freeze
MADISON TWP., Mich. — Madison School District teachers have
agreed to a new contract that includes a wage freeze and higher health care
contributions, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram reported. Officials there told The
Telegram that the teachers and district both wanted to sign a contract before a
new state law on teacher health care costs takes effect.
The one-year agreement will freeze the salary schedule at
the 2010-2011 level and only allows step increases if enrollment increases by
at least 35 students, according to The Telegram. Teachers will pay 15 percent
of their health insurance premiums, up from 8 percent last year, the Telegram
The Michigan Legislature last week passed a bill that would
cap the amount school districts are allowed to contribute toward health
insurance per employee, according to separate media reports. (See related item
in today’s Michigan Education Digest.) However, even if signed by Gov. Rick
Snyder, the new measure would not take immediate effect in districts with
Madison Education Association President Mary Radant told
The Telegram that teachers in Madison now will pay about $262 per month toward
a family health plan, up from $128 per month. The district will continue to
purchase insurance through the Michigan Education Special Services Association,
an affiliate of the Michigan Education Association, Radant told The Telegram.
The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Madison
teachers’ contract reached,” Aug. 23, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Benefits in Balance”
Would ‘Family Leave’ Boost School Involvement?
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids school officials like
the idea of allowing parents unpaid time off work so they can attend school
conferences or their children’s tutoring sessions, The Grand Rapids Press
District spokesman John Helmholdt said Grand Rapids Public
Schools leaders believe that the Family Education Leave Act proposed in the
state Legislature would help students, The Press reported. The measure would
require employers to allow parents to take up to eight hours a year off work,
unpaid, for school involvement.
“For us, there are problems with parents attending
conferences because so many of our students come from single-parent homes and
the parent can't get off from work,” he said, according to The Press.
Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, is sponsoring the
Family Education Leave Act in the state House, and a similar bill has been
submitted in the Senate, according to The Press. Twelve other states already have
“school involvement leave” policies, according to The Press.
The Grand Rapids Press, “Grand
Rapids Public Schools leaders say family leave would be a form of community
‘partnership’,” Aug. 25, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Carrot and
stick for Detroit parents,” 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.