February 11, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Snyder budget proposes more money for schools
  • Saginaw may close schools to address overspending crisis
  • State approves Flint’s proposal to eliminate overspending
  • Gulfstream pledges $60,000 scholarship for charter students
  • Number of Indiana students using vouchers doubles

Snyder Budget Proposes More Money for Schools

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget would increase school spending, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that, under the budget, state spending on education would increase by 2.8 percent. Of the increase, according to the Free Press, the majority would go to pay for teacher retirement costs.
The proposed budget also includes a 3 percent increase in state spending for community colleges, the Free Press reports, along with a 6.1 percent increase in state spending on state universities.
Gov. Snyder’s budget also includes another $65 million in spending for the Great Start Readiness Program, the Free Press reports.

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Gov. Snyder’s proposed budget includes property tax cut, increased spending on schools, roads, police,” Feb. 5, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Gov. Snyder Keeps Pace in State of the State," Jan. 17, 2014 

Saginaw May Close Schools to Address Overspending Crisis

SAGINAW, Mich. – Saginaw school officials are considering closing three district schools and laying off more than 50 employees in order to address an overspending crisis, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the move could save the district $4.6 million this year. The Saginaw school district has an $84.6 million budget, according to MLive, but is overspending by about $6.5 million.
Saginaw is required to submit a plan to reduce the district’s overspending crisis to the state, according to MLive. If the district fails to do so, MLive reports, it could lose out on millions in state money.

SOURCE: MLive, “State drops Monday deadline facing Saginaw Schools; board still meeting Saturday,” Feb. 7, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Students Forced Out of Schools Because State Dismissed Charter Company Plans," Nov. 6, 2013 

State Approves Flint’s Proposal to Eliminate Overspending

FLINT, Mich. – The state has approved the Flint School District’s proposal to reduce its overspending crisis, according to MLive. Flint is overspending by $10.4 million, MLive reports, and owes $8.6 million to the Genesee Intermediate School District.

According to MLive, the state requiring the district to comply with several additional measures.
MLive reports that, among other things, Flint must report student counts to the state on a weekly basis, submit monthly budget reports and cut costs by reducing staff and salaries if it can't cut costs elsewhere.
According to MLive, school and union officials have agreed to reduce compensation by 19 percent, along with some layoffs.

SOURCE: MLive, “State says things not rosy but approves Flint School District’s deficit elimination plan,” Feb. 5, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Mismanagement Often to Blame for School District Financial Troubles,” Jan. 13, 2014 

Gulfstream Pledges $60,000 Scholarship for Charter Students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has pledged to provide an annual $60,000 college scholarship to students at the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a public charter school, according to MLive.

MLive reports that Gulfstream’s pledge will last for four years. Each of those four years, West Michigan Aviation Academy seniors will be considered for the scholarship on the basis of need, academic performance and career path, according to MLive.
MLive reports that the school attracts students from throughout West Michigan, and provides a curriculum focused on aviation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

SOURCE: MLive, “Gulfstream pledges $240,000 in scholarships to grads of Dick DeVos’ aviation school,” Feb. 7, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Charter schools begin to specialize,” Sept. 1, 2010 

Number of Indiana Students Using Vouchers Doubles

INDIANAPOLIS – The number of Indiana students making use of private school choice has doubled in just the past year, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The Star reports that nearly 20,000 Indiana students use vouchers to attend a private school of their choice.
The Indiana private school choice program was expanded last year to allow more students to use it, according to the Star.
Previously, the program was limited to low-income students, but now students assigned to low-ranked schools and special education students are eligible, the Star reports.
It costs less for the state to provide a voucher than to pay for a student to attend public school, according to the Star. The Star reports that the state saved $4.9 million last year in this way.
“We need to be focusing on the child’s needs, not focusing on who gets the money and who doesn’t get the money,” Rob Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, told the Star.
SOURCE: The Indianapolis Star, “Indiana voucher students double to nearly 20,000,” Jan. 27 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Students Need Private School Choice, Jan. 8, 2014