Contents of this issue:
- Detroit teachers oust union leader
- Charlevoix battles union over long-term sub hire
- Holland contracts for substitute teachers
- Teachers in thumb agree to cheaper union health plan
- Hart schools leave MESSA
- Ewen-Trout Creek Schools uncovers deficit
- Win an iPod
DETROIT TEACHERS OUST UNION LEADER
DETROIT — The Detroit Federation of Teachers union recently voted
their president of six years out of office, according to the
Detroit Free Press.
Teachers replaced President Janna Garrison with Executive Vice
President Virginia Cantrell. Garrison believes that the change in
power is a result of the recently negotiated contract, as well as
the overall handling of the teacher's strike, according to the
Free Press. The teachers union conducted an illegal strike that
denied instruction to students for several days in September.
"If you betray the membership, you lose the job," DPS teacher
Heather Miller told the Free Press.
Cantrell received 56 percent of the vote, while Garrison received
35 percent and math teacher Stephen Conn received 9 percent.
Cantrell's two-year term will begin in January, according to the
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's teachers union ousts leader,"
Dec. 3, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS enrollment drop biggest in 20
years," Nov. 28, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS, DFT disagree on compulsory dues,
legal fees," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "DPS teachers union strikes,"
Aug. 29, 2006
CHARLEVOIX BATTLES UNION OVER LONG-TERM SUB HIRE
CHARLEVOIX, Mich. — The Charlevoix school district will save
about $26,000 by hiring a substitute teacher through a private
firm to fill a year-long vacancy, according to the Petoskey News-Review.
The Michigan Education Association school employees union,
however, has filed a grievance over the matter, the News-Review
reported. The district hired a long-term sub through PMP
Personnel Services. In years past, the district hired a teacher
to fill vacancies created by employee leaves of absence. Terry
Cox, an MEA Uniserv director, believes the district is at fault
for not notifying the union of a change in its practice,
according to the News-Review.
Superintendent Jim Cooper believes that the district did not
breach its contract because the Legislature amended the Michigan
Revised School Code in 2002, allowing districts to contract with
staffing agencies to fill vacancies created by leaves of absence,
according to the News-Review.
"A lot of the areas of a contract are vague and open for
interpretation," Cooper told the News-Review. "It comes down to
the law and opinion."
Petoskey News-Review, "Teachers seek arbitration over permanent
sub hiring," Nov. 29, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Substitute teachers privatized in
Grand Rapids," May 9, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Privatized subs can save schools
money," April 11, 2006
HOLLAND CONTRACTS FOR SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
HOLLAND, Mich. — Holland Public Schools is the latest district to
sign a competitive contract for its substitute teachers,
according to The Grand Rapids Press.
Holland has joined the list of 26 school districts in Kent and
Ottawa counties that now use Professional Employment Services
Group to provide their substitute teachers. School officials are
reporting savings of about 8.5 percent on substitute costs
because of the switch, according to The Press.
PESG allows districts to set their own pay rate for subs, and
some have reduced pay to increase savings. Holland, however,
which uses between 30 and 50 subs a day, has promised to keep
wages at $95 per day. The district is doing this to compete with
two neighboring districts that do not contract with PESG,
according to The Press.
PESG also is convenient for substitute teachers who work in
multiple districts because they will receive one check per pay
period and one W-2 in January. Moreover, unlike Kent ISD, PESG
hires new substitutes throughout the year, The Press reported.
"This poses advantages to new teachers, especially if they
graduate from college mid-year," Jon Felske, superintendent of
Wyoming schools, which works with PESG, told The Press.
The Grand Rapids Press, "Districts find savings by privatizing
sub teachers," Nov. 28, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "West Michigan schools contract for
substitute teachers," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Report, "Beyond brooms, burgers and buses,"
Nov. 21, 2006
TEACHERS IN THUMB AGREE TO CHEAPER UNION HEALTH PLAN
BAD AXE, Mich. — Teachers in two Thumb-area school districts have
settled contracts and opted to take a more cost-effective
insurance plan, according to the Huron Daily Tribune.
Teachers from both Unionville-Sebewaing Area Schools and
Deckerville have agreed to switch from the Michigan Education
Special Services Association Supercare I health plan to MESSA
Choices II, according to the Tribune. MESSA is a third-party
administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association
school employees union.
Deckerville will save $17,936 on insurance for this school year
and teachers will receive a 2 percent pay increase. Teachers in
Unionville-Sebewaing will receive a 1.95 percent pay increase for
this year and a 1.85 percent raise for the next two years,
according to the Tribune.
"It's a win-win contract," Dr. Kip Walker, superintendent of
Unionville-Sebewaing schools told the Tribune. "The teachers
received a decent raise and agreed to take a cheaper insurance."
Huron Daily Tribune, "USA teacher contract approved,"
Nov. 22, 2006
Huron Daily Tribune, "District finalizes teacher contract,"
Nov. 29, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Pellston teachers choose less
expensive health plan," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Fruitport teachers flock to less
expensive MESSA," Sept. 12, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Pinckney teachers voluntarily abandon
MESSA," Feb. 7, 2006
HART SCHOOLS LEAVE MESSA
HART, Mich. — The support staff for Hart Public Schools has
agreed to abandon health insurance sold through the Michigan
Education Special Services Association in exchange for a more
cost-effective insurance offered by SET SEG, according to the
Ludington Daily News.
The Hart board of education has recently required that teachers
also take the less costly health plan, saving the district at
least $250,000, the Daily News reported.
Members of the support staff were pleased with their decision,
according to the Daily News.
"We were satisfied," support staff union representative Judy
Herin told the Daily News. "We met a compromise and we felt we
got something. By going with it we saved the district some money.
We were pleased."
While many aspects of the teachers' contract are still on the
table, the district and union already have decided on annual and
step pay increases. The support staff contract also includes pay
increases ranging from 2 to 2.5 percent over the three-year
contract, according to the News.
Ludington Daily News, "Hart schools OK support staff contract,"
Nov. 30, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Madison contracts stall over health
insurance," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "St. Johns board declares impasse,"
Sept. 19, 2006
Michigan Education Report, "Blue Cross and MESSA," Sept. 6, 2006
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "MESSA Reference Page,"
March 10, 2006
EWEN-TROUT CREEK SCHOOLS UNCOVERS DEFICIT
Ewen, Mich. — The Ewen-Trout Creek school district's audit
revealed a $1.2 million budget deficit, according to the Ironwood
Auditor Diane Rostagno reported that the largest liability is
owed to the Michigan Education Special Services Association, a
third-party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education
Association school employees union. The district owes $600,000 in
payments to MESSA, according to the Globe.
Rostagno told the board it is likely that financial reports from
past years were incorrect and that the district has had the
deficit for many years without realizing it.
"This did not just occur but is a culmination over several
years," Rostagno told the board, according to the Globe.
The board speculates that notices about overdue payments to MESSA
were not given to administrators by an office professional who is
no longer employed by the district, the Globe reported.
Ironwood Daily Globe, "E-TC School District discovers $1.2
million deficit," Nov. 30, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Dowagiac schools crunched by teacher
benefits," Nov. 28, 2006
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Budgets: A Crisis of
Management, Not Finance," Feb. 11, 2005
WIN AN IPOD
MIDLAND, Mich. — Michigan Education Report is offering readers a
chance to win an iPod when they comment on articles in its Winter
2006 issue. Comments can be made via e-mail about stories on
alternative teacher certification, successful public school
reform and Michigan's cap on charter public schools. Please visit www.educationreport.org
for more information.
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
a quarterly newspaper
with a circulation of 150,000 published by the Mackinac Center
for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org
nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.