May 28, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • MDE criticizes Muskegon Heights charter district’s operations
  • Ann Arbor Public Schools to charge students for some classes
  • Schools could see 3 percent funding increase
  • 61 percent of districts have privatized services to cut costs 
  • More GSVU-authorized charter public schools to open this fall 

MDE Criticizes Muskegon Heights Charter District’s Operations

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. – A report from the Michigan Department of Education shows that the Muskegon Heights charter district failed to follow federal and state rules that specify what services should be provided to special education students, according to Michigan Radio.

The MDE investigated the district after a parent filed a complaint, according to Michigan Radio. State officials say that staff were told to say that students didn’t need supplemental educational services because they couldn’t be provided, Michigan Radio reports.
Allegedly, the district failed to provide social workers to students who needed them, and failed to provide speech and language, physical therapy, mobility and other services to special education students, according to Michigan Radio.
SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools,” May 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Eight Muskegon Heights teachers uncertified," Feb. 19, 2013

Ann Arbor Public Schools to Charge Students for Some Classes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – High school students at Ann Arbor Public Schools may have to pay up to $500 to take seventh-hour classes, according to AnnArbor.com.

AAPS is in the midst of an overspending crisis, and the district has to cut more than $8.5 million by June 30, AnnArbor.com reports. 
The district is also considering eliminating high school transportation, closing middle school pools and cutting athletics, among other things, according to AnnArbor.com
SOURCE: AnnArbor.com, “Budget cuts: Ann Arbor schools to cut high school busing, charge kids for 7th hour,” May 16, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How Social Security Digits Could Decide an Ann Arbor Teacher Layoff,” May 31, 2011

Schools Could See 3 Percent Funding Increase

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan public schools could see a 3 percent increase in funding, according to CBS 62 Detroit.

CBS reports that under the proposed budget, districts that receive the minimum per-pupil state foundation allowance could see that amount increase by $60.
Since some state aid goes to pay for teacher retirement costs, an amendment was added to the budget to include $6 million that would make sure that all Michigan districts would see a net increase of at least $5 per pupil, according to CBS.
SOURCE: CBS 62 Detroit, “Michigan Panel OKs 3% Raise for K-12 Schools,” May 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “District Spent $20K Per Student, Had Rodents In Schools, Holes In Ceiling and Walls,” May 7, 2013

61 Percent of Districts Have Privatized Services to Cut Costs

LANSING, Mich. – During 2012, 335 of Michigan’s 549 school districts privatized at least one support service, according to The Oakland Press.

The Oakland Press reports that 10 school districts in Oakland County have outsourced their transportation services. Statewide, 16.2 percent of districts have privatized transportation, The Press reports.
Debra Hartman, spokesperson for Rochester Community Schools, told The Press that the district outsourced transportation and custodial services in 2009. Just by privatizing transportation, the district saved $4.7 million over three years, Hartman told The Press.
SOURCE: The Oakland Press, “School districts privatize services to balance budgets,” May 15, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan School Privatization Survey 2012,” March 11, 2013

More GSVU-Authorized Charter Schools to Open This Fall

LANSING, Mich. – This fall, 32 new public charter schools will open, including six schools authorized by Grand Valley State University, according to MLive.

GVSU officials told MLive that the university will authorize 62 total schools this fall. One of the new schools, Covenant House Academy Grand Rapids, will serve homeless students aged 16 to 22, MLive reports.
SOURCE: MLive, “Grand Valley State University is growing its charter schools,” May 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Michigan Charter Schools a Smashing Success, Jan. 15, 2013