January 8, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • State education funding trimmed
  • Grosse Pointe removes 21 students 
  • Michigan Radio takes close look at new public charter district
  • Enrollment continues to decline at Detroit-area schools
  • Birmingham fee lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in damages

State Education Funding Trimmed

LANSING, Mich. – A new Senate Fiscal Agency report estimates that state tax revenues will be lower than anticipated for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

The report estimates that revenues during fiscal year 2013 will be 1.9 percent smaller than expected 2012 revenues, the Enquirer reported.

Tax changes passed in 2011 and 2012 will impact state revenues, the Enquirer reports, and could result in a 2 percent drop in 2013 state tax revenue for public schools, and a 6.5 percent decline in general fund revenue.

SOURCE: Battle Creek Enquirer, “Senate report predicts state revenue will drop in 2013,” Jan. 4, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Status Quo School Defenders: Money For Me, But Bad For Thee," Jan. 5, 2013

Grosse Pointe Removes 21 Students 

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – The Grosse Pointe Public Schools has removed 21 students for not living within the district, the Grosse Pointe Patch reports.

So far this year, the district investigated 94 students suspected of being non-residents, Patch reports.

District officials have also spent weeks verifying 200 leases, according to Patch.

Christian Fenton, deputy superintendent of business affairs and operations, said that some Grosse Pointe families will receive random residency verification paperwork in early 2013, Patch reports.

According to Patch, Fenton said some parents have threatened to not comply with the new paperwork.

SOURCE: Grosse Pointe Patch, “Grosse Pointe Public Schools has Removed 21 Students for Violating Residency Rules,” Dec. 19, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Who’s Cheating Who?" Oct. 18, 2012

Michigan Radio Takes Close Look at New Public Charter District 

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Michigan Radio has produced a four-part series on the new public charter school district in Muskegon Heights.

According to Michigan Radio, the transition during summer 2012 from a conventional district to a district run by a public charter school company was rocky. Students and teachers told Michigan Radio that the transition was “chaotic.” According to Michigan Radio, more than 25 percent of teachers have quit this year.

Though some teachers are critical of changing to the charter school company’s curriculum, Michigan Radio reports that “almost every student” interviewed said that the change is a positive one.

SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “Muskegon Heights students hope for less chaos as they return to class today (first of a four-part series),” Jan. 2, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Muskegon Heights Public Charter District Will Stay in Place,” Nov. 20, 2012

Enrollment Continues to Decline at Detroit-Area Schools

DETROIT – During the past five years, 20 Detroit-area school districts saw student enrollment decline by more than 10 percent, according to CBS Detroit.

As students leave, so do taxpayer dollars, CBS reports. Nine of the 10 Detroit-area districts with the largest enrollment drops are running budget deficits, according to CBS.

The Romulus school district is an exception, CBS reports. The district closed schools, and district employees have had their total compensation reduced by 15 percent in recent years.

The Hazel Park school district, according to CBS, has run a budget deficit for the past six years. Superintendent Jim Meisinger told CBS that the district may consider allowing non-residents to attend in order make up some money.  

SOURCE: CBS Detroit, “Declining Enrollment May Spell Doom For Districts,” Dec. 26, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Funding at All-Time High, June 21, 2012

Birmingham Fee Lawsuit Seeks More Than $25,000 in Damages

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – A lawsuit filed against the Birmingham school district for charging fees for school supplies is seeking more than $25,000 in damages, Michigan Radio reports.

A 1972 state law forbids special school fees, according to Michigan Radio, for items such as gym clothes and student planners.

Birmingham Superintendent Daniel Nerad told Michigan Radio that “this is not an unusual practice.”

SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “Birmingham Schools Face Lawsuit Over Fees,” Jan. 2, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Back-to-School Shopping” Aug. 3, 2012