February 18, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • EMU issues layoff notices to College of Ed lecturers
  • DPS gives out free meals to students, parents on count day
  • State Board suggests replacement days for snow cancelations
  • Saginaw to close three schools
  • Emergency manager challenge moves forward

EMU Issues Layoff Notices to College of Ed Lecturers

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eastern Michigan University has issued layoff notices to nearly all of it's full-time lecturers in its College of Education, according to MLive.

MLive reports that EMU’s College of Education has seen course enrollment drop by nearly 25 percent since the 2008-09 school year.
The college has also been embroiled in a controversy regarding the statewide Education Achievement Authority, according to MLive. Washtenaw County-area teacher unions have been boycotting EMU student teachers at the behest of EMU faculty members, MLive reports.
The EAA controversy caused the College of Education’s dean to resign from the EAA board, according to MLive.

SOURCE: MLive,“Eastern Michigan University layoffs: Majority of full-time education lecturers get notices,” Feb. 11, 2014

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Teachers Union Pushes Districts To Boycott Some University Students Over Politics," Nov. 8, 2013

DPS Gives Out Free Meals to Students, Parents on Count Day

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools gave students and parents free meals to encourage attendance on Count Day, according to the Free Press. Count Day was held on Feb. 12 this year, the Free Press reports.

There are two count days per school year, which impact state aid money for school districts, according to the Free Press. The Free Press reports that 90 percent of a district’s state aid money is determined by fall count day, with the remaining 10 percent determined by the spring count day.
Each homeroom with perfect attendance on Feb. 12 in K-8 schools will be receiving a pizza party, according to the Free Press.

Parents and children also could have breakfast and lunch at DPS schools that day, the Free Press reports

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “DPS offers incentives to make sure students show up for count day,” Feb. 11, 2014

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy,“Count Day Could Become an Outdated Gimmick," Sept. 11, 2012

State Board Suggests Replacement Days For Snow Cancellations

LANSING, Mich. – State Board of Education members are unanimously suggesting that school districts that have used more than six snow days make up the lost time with full days instead of tacking on additional hours as needed, according to the Toledo Blade.

The Blade reports that legislation has been proposed allowing districts to make up the time piecemeal. But the State Board of Education, according to the Blade, says that full makeup days are the only way to “offer every student the full extent of quality instruction that they missed…”
The Greenville School District, the Blade reports, has canceled school for 12.5 days this year, and has already announced that five makeup days will be held.

SOURCE: Toledo Blade,“Michigan Board of Education takes stance on snow days,” Feb. 13, 2014
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy“Winter Weather Wonderland,” Nov. 12, 2006

Saginaw to Close Three Schools

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Saginaw School District will be closing one middle school and two elementary schools in order to reduce its overspending crisis, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the district will also lay off three dozen teachers, six administrators and eight secretaries, among other staff.
According to MLive, the district is overspending by about $6 million. The district expects to save $4.9 million with the school closures and layoffs, MLive reports.

These moves will help the district continue to receive state funding, according to MLive. MLive reports that the district could lose $5 million in March state aid money if the district fails to submit a cost-cutting proposal to the Michigan Department of Education.

SOURCE: MLive, “Saginaw High, Arthur HIll to add 8th graders; 2 elementaries closing under budget-cut plan,” Feb. 17, 2014
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Saginaw may close schools to address overspending crisis,” Feb. 11, 2014

Emergency Manager Challenge Moves Forward

DETROIT – A challenge to the state emergency manager law is moving forward through the court system, according to the Detroit Free Press. The challenge includes emergency managers put in place in Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck and Detroit Public Schools, the Free Press reports.

According to the Free Press, the case is moving forward now that both parties have agreed the suit won’t include the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy case.
The plaintiffs bringing the case, the Free Press reports, include unions, Detroit school board members and city council members, among others, the Free Press reports.
“People say [the emergency manager law] violates democracy, but what about when all the streetlights are out,” Lou Schimmel, former emergency manager for Pontiac asked in the Free Press.
SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press, “Challenge to emergency manager law moves forward after Detroit case dropped,” Feb. 16 2014
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Emergency Managers Are Bad, Bankruptcy Far Worse,” July 11, 2014