Sept. 30, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • DPS board votes emergency manager out
  • Student count day tomorrow
  • Genesee ISD suing Flint school district
  • Millage sought to pay off overspending crisis in Buena Vista
  • Detroit Public Schools teacher shortage

DPS Board Votes Emergency Manager Out

DETROIT – The Detroit Public Schools board of education Monday night — for the third time this year — took a vote to oust Emergency Manager Jack Martin, according to the Detroit Free Press.

An attorney for DPS will argue in court tomorrow that removing Martin is within the board’s control, the Free Press reported.

DPS says it has been 18 months since the emergency manager law took effect, the Free Press reported. The law gives school districts and municipalities the ability to remove an emergency manager who has served for 18 months, according to the Free Press.

Martin’s 18 months on the job, however, will expire in January, the Free Press reported.

SOURCES:  Detroit Free Press, “DPS board votes to get rid of emergency manager,” Sept. 29, 2014 

Detroit Free Press, “DPS board seeks to remove emergency manager immediately,” Sept. 22, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Emergency Mangers  

Student Count Day Tomorrow

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Some 90 percent of public school aid funding will be determined by how many students are in attendance tomorrow on what is known as “count day,” according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Grand Rapids Public Schools, for example, is expecting to have 400 fewer students than last year, amounting to $2.8 million less in funding, The Press reported.
The other 10 percent of the funding comes from a second count day to be held Feb. 11, according to The Press.

SOURCE: MLive, “Count Day crucial to West Michigan school districts battling declining enrollment,” Sept. 16, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Count Day Could Become an Outdated Gimmick,” Sept. 11, 2012 

Genesee ISD Suing Flint School District

FLINT, Mich. – The Genesee Intermediate School District is suing the Flint School District for $8.6 million, claiming the district diverted tax dollars earmarked for a vocational education center to its general fund, according to The Flint Journal.

Flint School District has a self-created overspending crisis of about $20 million, The Journal reported.
Flint’s attorney, however, told The Journal that a contract signed in 2013 when the ISD bought the training center from the district prevents the ISD from suing over the matter.
“From a legal standpoint, this is not really debatable,” Rich Berg told The Journal. “This is not unclear. The contract is clear and they don’t have this claim.”

SOURCE: MLive, “Judge weighs validity of GISD’s $8.6 million lawsuit against Flint School District and former auditor,” Sept. 22, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How to Fix Flint Schools,” Oct. 8, 2010 

Millage Sought to Pay off Overspending Crisis in Buena Vista

SAGINAW, Mich. – Voters in the dissolved Buena Vista school district will be asked to approve an 18-mill non-homestead tax to pay off a $4 million self-created overspending crisis, according to The Saginaw News.

The former school district also must pay off $2.5 million in bond obligations, The News reported.
Kathy Stewart, superintendent of the Saginaw ISD, told The News the state could impose a tax on residents of the former Buena Vista district if the millage fails.
“They’re looking for a way to reduce their expenses, and this would be my intent: put more into education of the kids in the classroom and less on the legacy cost,” Jansen told Michigan Radio. “This would be the ultimate reform, I think, in my mind, anyway. And it would bring us the stability, I think, in the education system that we really, truly need.”

SOURCE: MLive, “November millage renewal sought in former Buena Vista School District even though district is dissolved,” Sept. 25, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Close Dysfunctional Schools,” June 3, 2013 

Detroit Public Schools Teacher Shortage

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools, which has a self-created overspending crisis of $127 million, has more than 100 teaching jobs to fill, according to the Detroit Free Press.

About 100 instructional specialists, literacy coaches and others who normally don’t have classroom assignments have been reassigned to teaching duties, the Free Press reported. District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski told the Free Press that all of them have teacher certification credentials.
The district is planning a teacher job fair, which would be its seventh in the last eight months, according to the Free Press.

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “DPS teacher shortage leads to overcrowded classes,” Sept. 27, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Teacher Certification Tests Don’t Tell Us Enough About Quality,” March 2, 2010