August 13, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Covert will stay open
  • ACLU sues AAPS over class fees
  • Former DFT business manager charged with fraud
  • DPS undertakes school marketing campaign to boost enrollment
  • One out of eight student loan borrowers in default

Covert Will Stay Open

COVERT, Mich. – Covert Public Schools will stay open for the 2013-14 school year, despite fears that misdirected tax revenue and the district’s financial missteps would lead to its closure, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the district had budgeted receiving $3.8 million from a single business property, far above what was owed. The district will stay open, according to MLive, with help from the taxpayer and from redirected tax revenues from nearby local governments.
According to MLive, the district is also planning to reduce staff and close unused facilities to improve its financial footing.
SOURCE: MLive, “Deal reached to keep Covert Public Schools open,” Aug. 9, 2013 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “District sues over tax ruling," Sept. 16, 2009

ACLU Sues AAPS Over Class Fees

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Ann Arbor Public Schools over the district’s decision to charge fees for seventh hour classes, Michigan Radio reports.

According to Michigan Radio, the ACLU says that AAPS is the first Michigan district to implement a “tuition-based” program, and that it is unconstitutional. AAPS officials added the fees, according to Michigan Radio, to balance the district’s budget.
Seventh hour classes are primarily used at AAPS, according to Michigan Radio, by students who need the flexibility to take extracurricular classes, such as music.
SOURCE: Michigan Radio, “ACLU files lawsuit against Ann Arbor schools tuition plan,” Aug. 7, 2013 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Ann Arbor Students and Parents Take Cuts While Teachers Get Raises,” July 15, 2013

Former DFT Business Manager Charged With Fraud

DETROIT – A former Detroit Federation of Teachers business manager has been charged with fraud, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that Sherri Patrick is charged with writing checks from the teachers union to herself and third parties for money to which she was not entitled.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Ex-business manager for Detroit teachers union charged with bank fraud,” Aug. 7, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Unemployment fraud uncovered at Detroit Public Schools,” May 24, 2012

DPS Undertakes School Marketing Campaign to Boost Enrollment

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools is undertaking a marketing campaign that advertises specific schools to parents instead of marketing the district as a whole, according to The Detroit News. District officials hope to attract 5,000 new students, The News reports.

DPS spokesperson Steve Wasko told The News that specific program additions, such as preschool, classes in arts and music and improved customer service, will help attract families.
“With all the competition, just being a ‘good’ school isn’t enough for some people,” Principal Linda Whitaker told The News.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Detroit Public Schools tries to retain, gain students by marketing each school,” Aug. 9, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Thirkell Elementary: A Detroit Public School Success Story,” June 26, 2013

One Out of Eight Student Loan Borrowers in Default

LANSING, Mich. – More than 6 million federal student loan borrowers — or about one in eight — are in default, according to MLive. Their outstanding debt totals approximately $89 billion, MLive reports.

Student loans typically cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, according to MLive. About half of the outstanding loans were made under the government’s Direct Loans Program, and borrowers in default under that program have an average outstanding debt of $14,500.
SOURCE: MLive, “New analysis shows almost 13 percent of federal student loan borrowers in default,” Aug. 6, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Collapse of Higher-Ed Bubble Draws Near,” Jan. 14, 2013