October 15, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • DPS closing charter school
  • Farmington board president accused of violating finance act
  • Mackinac Center criticizes state ranking system
  • Michigan 'baby bust'putting pressure on universities
  • School fundraiser seeks scrap metal

DPS Closing Charter School

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools is closing one of its charter schools due to enrollment and financial difficulties, according WXYZ 7 Action News.

WXYZ reports that the school will be closed on Oct. 31. According to WXYZ, the school lost 100 students a couple years ago when the number of grades offered at the school was reduced.
The Detroit News reports that the school has been open since 1974 and has been a charter school since 1994.

“The financial condition leaves little confidence that the school has the resources necessary to improve student achievement and maintain a safe learning environment,” DPS spokesman Steve Wasko told The News.

SOURCES: Detroit News, “Detroit’s Aisha Shule charter school to close Oct. 31,” Oct. 11, 2013

FURTHER READING: WXYZ-Action News, “Declining enrollment, lack of funds closes Aisha Shule/W.E.B. DuBois Prep in Detroit,” Oct. 11, 2013

Declining Birth Rate Will Dramatically Impact School Enrollment

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Michigan births fell during the last decade, a trend that is now affecting public school enrollment, according to MLive.

MLive reports that Michigan births fell by 11 percent between 2000 and 2008, meaning that this year’s kindergarten class is smaller for many districts.

According to MLive, the decline will continue. Between 2008 and 2011, MLive reports that Michigan births declined by another 6 percent.

“The 2008 recession births hit this fall,” Julie Rohrer, assistant superintendent for finance and operations at Parchment School District, told MLive. “[School officials] were told statewide that the kindergarten counts in 2013 and 2014 will be low,” she said, according to MLive.

SOURCE: MLive,“Recession baby bust impacts Kalamazoo-area school enrollment in fall 2013,” Oct. 5, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest,“Birth rates affect school district budgets,” April 2, 2013

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “DPS enrollment down by thousands," Feb. 23, 2007

Farmington Board President Accused of Violating Finance Act

FARMINGTON, Mich. – Farmington School Board President Howard Wallach and the school district have been accused of publicly supporting a school bond proposal, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

The Observer & Eccentric reports that Wallach is accused of urging support for the bond proposal at a public event, and that the district is accused of publicizing the proposal using its email listserv.
The allegations were made by a parent group called Farmington Kids 1st, according to the Observer & Eccentric. Sue Burstein, treasurer of the group, told the Observer & Eccentric that “it is so disappointing that the district, its employees and board president would apparently fail to respect the law of Michigan.”
SOURCE: The Observer & Eccentric,“FPS disputes campaign violation claim against board chief Wallach,” Oct. 10, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “State Has Weak History of Punishing School Campaign Finance Law Violators,” April 24, 2013

Mackinac Center Criticizes State Ranking System

LANSING, Mich. – The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently released a study criticizing the state’s Top-to-Bottom school rankings, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the Center found that a majority of the variation of school rankings could be explained by the percentage of students in poverty. According to MLive, other states have created school ranking systems with lower correlations.
“Such a system risks penalizing schools based not on their actual performance, but rather on the portion of low-income students they happen to enroll,” the Center’s report says according to MLive.

SOURCE: MLive,“Mackinac Center criticizes top-to-bottom school accountability system, says penalizes poor districts,” Oct. 10, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan’s Top-to-Bottom Ranking: A Measure of School Quality or Student Poverty,” Oct. 10 2013

Michigan ‘Baby Bust’ Putting Pressure on Universities

LANSING, Mich. – As the number of high school graduates in Michigan declines, state universities are looking elsewhere to keep enrollment up, according to the Grand Haven Tribune.

The Tribune reports that the number of Michigan graduates peaked in 2008 at around 123,500, but could drop below 90,000 in coming years.
Matthew McLogan, vice president of university relations at Grand Valley State University, told the Tribune that GVSU has more than 1,500 nonresident students this year. “We like to think we are a net importer of talent,” he told the Tribune, “and that helps a state with a declining population.”
SOURCE: Grand Haven Tribune,“Some Mich. schools draw more out-of-state students,” Oct. 12, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Declining birth rate will dramatically impact school enrollment,” Oct. 8, 2013

School Fundraiser Seeks Scrap

WILLIAMSTON, Mich. – Williamston High School, just outside of Lansing, is seeking scrap metal to raise money for school band uniforms, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The school is accepting all types of scrap metal, as well as previous metals, including broken jewelry and old class rings, the Journal reports.
The school will also accept cars donated for scrap, including those that need to be towed, according to the Journal.

SOURCES: Lansing State Journal,“Williamston High band hosts scrap metal drive fundraiser for new uniforms,” Oct. 11, 2013

FURTHER READING: “School Districts Spend Tens of Thousands on Losing Millage Requests," July 23, 2013