July 22, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Livonia sidelines successful charter public school
  • MEA sees membership, salaries decline
  • Benton Harbor district under financial emergency review
  • Teacher attrition costs Michigan close to $60M
  • State superintendent to crack down on charter authorizers

Livonia Sidelines Successful Charter Public School

LIVONIA, Mich. – Livonia Public Schools effectively closed a successful Japanese-language immersion public charter school, according to Michigan Capitol Confidential. The Mackinac Center publishes Capitol Confidential.

Livonia is the authorizer of Hinoki International School, Capitol Confidential reports, and also was the school’s landlord.
Just weeks before the end of the school year, Livonia notified Hinoki that it would terminate the school’s lease and start a carbon-copy Japanese language immersion program in the district, according to Capitol Confidential.
Hinoki parents and community members have been unable to find a new location for the school, Capitol Confidential reports. The school has announced that it will not be able to enroll students during the 2014-2015 school year, according to Capitol Confidential.
“It makes me sad, very, very, very, very, very sad, because there’s just not going to be a Hinoki,” Jake Cawood, a former Hinoki student, told Michigan Capitol Confidential.

SOURCE: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Conventional District Sidelines Successful Charter To Financially Benefit Itself,” July 17, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Internal Issues Put International Charter Public School At Risk,” June 2, 2014 

MEA Sees Membership, Salaries Decline

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association saw membership drop by more than 4,000 members from 2012 to 2013, according to the Lansing State Journal.

According to the State Journal, the drop in membership could be attributed to Michigan’s new right-to-work law, or could be attributed to the statewide decline in the number of public school teachers.
The State Journal also reports that average salary of MEA staff members declined, from $86,768 to $79,931.
Though the MEA has provided the State Journal with comments on its finances, the MEA declined to do so this year. MEA President Steve Cook told the State Journal that the MEA has a new policy of only discussing financial information with members.

SOURCE: Lansing State Journal, “Michigan Education Association sees bottom line rise with salary cuts,” July 19, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Michigan Teachers Contribute to Six-Figure Salaries at the NEA,” May 21, 2014 

Benton Harbor District Under Financial Emergency Review

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The Benton Harbor school district has more than $15 million in debt, and could be declared under a financial emergency, according to WSBT 22.

WSBT 22 reports that a review team appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder is considering whether the district is facing a financial emergency.
If the financial review team determines that Benton Harbor is facing a financial emergency, the school board will determine what course of action to take, according to WSBT 22.

SOURCE: WSBT, “Dozens meet to express concerns, opinions to financial review team,” July 16, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “State halts takeover of Benton Harbor schools," Jan. 4, 2012  

Teacher Attrition Costs Michigan Close to $60M

LANSING, Mich. – The annual cost of public school teacher attrition – when teachers move or leave teaching entirely – costs the U.S. public school system $2.2 billion, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that teacher attrition costs Michigan public schools close to $60 million each year.
“Teacher attrition hits states and school districts in the wallet, but students and teachers pay the real price,” Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education said, according to The News.

SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Teacher attrition costs U.S. $2.2B a year, Michigan $59.4M, report says,” 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Editorial: Loss of new teachers a concern, June 5, 2005 

State Superintendent to Crack Down on Charter Authorizers

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan School Superintendent Mike Flanagan will be cracking down on public charter school authorizers, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that Flanagan has sought meetings with charter authorizer officials to discuss how to hold authorizers accountable.
Authorizers contacted by Flanagan include Grand Valley State University and Saginaw Valley State University, according to the Free Press.

SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press, “Michigan superintendent plans meetings to hold charter school authorizers accountable,” July 14, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “TTB a Poor Measure of Charter Performance,” June 27, 2014