Contents of this issue:
- Detroit school board votes to close 34 schools
- Plans for Macomb County Catholic school moving forward
- Schools privatize substitutes, consider service consolidation
- South Lyon adopts schools of choice program
- Online Chinese courses to be offered to high school students
- Win an iPod; Map: Does your district competitively contract?
DETROIT SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO CLOSE 34 SCHOOLS
DETROIT — The Detroit Public Schools board of education voted 6-5 to save the district $18.6 million a year by closing 34 of its
schools, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The plan also calls for the establishment of 23 themed schools
that will focus on areas of study such as college preparation
and science and technology. The district also will create an
all-girls and an all-boys high school. The school closings are a
result of a state-mandated deficit elimination plan, which calls
for the closure of 95 schools from 2005-2009, the Free Press
District officials have reported that DPS currently has an
enrollment of 119,000 students but has enough classroom space
for 180,000, according to the Free Press.
The decision to close schools has been met with strong
opposition and one member of the audience was arrested at a
previous board meeting for throwing a grape at board Vice
President Joyce Hayes-Giles, the Free Press reported.
Other parents have said they will leave DPS.
"They are closing a high academic school. I've made up my mind
already. If they close my son's school, I will put my son in a
charter school," parent Clarissa Meriwether told the Free Press.
Detroit Free Press, "34 Detroit schools to close," April 5, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Detroit school board votes down
school closure plan," March 27, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Detroit Public Schools announces
school closings," Jan. 9, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "DPS enrollment down by thousands,"
Feb. 23, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Six Habits of Fiscally
Responsible Public School Districts," Dec. 3, 2002
PLANS FOR MACOMB COUNTY CATHOLIC SCHOOL MOVING FORWARD
MACOMB, Mich.- The plans for a Catholic high school in Macomb
Township have been submitted and the Austin Catholic Academy
Building Committee is making progress on its goal of opening
only the second school of its kind in Macomb County, according
to The Macomb Daily.
The committee has raised $11 million of its $30 million goal to
fund the construction of the private school. School officials
are expecting the building to hold between 800 and 1,000
students in grades 9-12 and offer a college preparatory
curriculum, The Macomb Daily reported.
Macomb Township clerk and planning commission member Michael
Koehs told The Macomb Daily that although public schools are not
required to go through screening by a planning commission,
private schools are.
"Public schools don't have to go through the process," he told
The Macomb Daily. "Private schools are not afforded that
Austin Catholic Academy President Leonard Brillati hopes the
school's presence will draw parents to a Catholic education, The
Macomb Daily reported.
"The Catholic school system has prepared great minds to do great
things for the church and for the nation," he told The Macomb
Daily. "We hope to inspire people to make Catholic education a
The Macomb Daily, "Catholic school site plan turned in,"
April 2, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "Detroit-area Catholic schools look
to future," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Report, "Catholic schools and the common
good," Aug. 16, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Detroit Catholic high school "sees
God in the challenges," Aug. 16, 2005
SCHOOLS PRIVATIZE SUBSTITUTES, CONSIDER SERVICE CONSOLIDATION
TRENTON, Mich. — Trenton Public Schools will save $30,000 this
year after privatizing its substitute teachers with two of its
neighboring districts, the Free Press Reported.
Trenton contracted with Professional Education Services Group,
of Caledonia, which Superintendent John Savel said is a good
move on the part of the district.
"We've had to cut well over a million from our budget each
year," Savel told the Free Press. "This is one way we can save a
substantial amount of money and not have to directly impact kids
Many other districts are picking up on the state's push for
service consolidation, the Free Press reported. In Oakland
County, 15 districts have consolidated their special education
busing programs, resulting in savings of more than $1 million
for each district, according to the Free Press.
Detroit Free Press, "Schools getting creative to save cash,"
April 3, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "West Michigan schools contract for
substitute teachers," Nov. 21, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "Houghton Lake to privatize
substitute teachers," July 25, 2006
Michigan Education Digest, "State Superintendent calls for
service consolidation," March 6, 2007
SOUTH LYON ADOPTS SCHOOLS OF CHOICE PROGRAM
SOUTH LYON, Mich. — The South Lyon Community Schools board of
education voted 6-1 in favor of participating in the Schools of
Choice program, according to the South Lyon Herald.
The decision to open the schools to students assigned to other
districts was done to make money, the Herald reported.
"Given the financial challenges facing everyone it is important
we try to do things we can prudently do to attract some
students," Trustee George Ehlert told the Herald. "Let's face
it, if we can get 20, 30 students, it could be the difference
between cutting a program or keeping it."
The resolution passed by the board will open enrollment to
students in Washtenaw, Livingston and Oakland counties. One
parent, Rita Huhdanpaa of Whitmore Lake, already is planning on
taking advantage of the opportunity, according to the Herald.
"It gives people who don't have a lot of choice within their
existing school district a different choice," she told the
Herald. "For us it is important."
South Lyon Herald, "Schools allow students from other
districts," April 5, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Thousands of parents exercise
limited school choice rights," July 5, 2006
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Case for Choice in
Schooling: Restoring Parental Control of Education,"
Jan. 29, 2001
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School
Choice on Public School Districts," July 24, 2000
ONLINE CHINESE COURSES TO BE OFFERED TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
EAST LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan State University language
institute is partnering with Michigan Virtual University to
offer an online Chinese language and culture class to every high
school student in the state next year, according to The
The course will be offered to up to 750 students per school, and
additional students can be added to the class for a fee of $275
per semester, The Gazette reported.
The class will run for one hour, four days a week and students
will participate in teleconferences to interact with a small
group of other students. Michigan is the first state to offer
online Chinese instruction for high school students. Yong Zhao,
an education professor and executive director of the Confucius
Institute at MSU, hopes that this will draw people to the state,
according to The Gazette.
"We want to attract businesses and tourists. This gives the
gesture that we care about another place, that we're open to a
different kind of people." He told The Gazette.
The Kalamazoo Gazette, "Online Chinese comes to high schools,"
March 26, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Asian Food for Thought,"
Dec. 10, 2004
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Undereducated Today,
Outsourced Tomorrow?" Nov. 16, 2004
WIN AN IPOD; MAP: DOES YOUR DISTRICT COMPETITIVELY CONTRACT?
MIDLAND, Mich. — The spring issue of Michigan Education Report
offers a map illustrating which districts have taken advantage
of competitive contracting. It can be accessed here:
Michigan Education Report is offering readers a chance to win an
iPod when they comment on articles in its spring 2007 issue.
Comments can be made via e-mail about stories on the U.S. House
Fellows program (https://www.educationreport.org/8238
district health benefits savings
whether private employees
in public schools provide the same quality of service as public
employees in public schools (https://educationreport.org/8254
), a community college cooperating with home-school students
and the role of profit in public schools (https://www.educationreport.org/8250
Please visit https://www.educationreport.org/8332
for more information.
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
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with a circulation of approximately 150,000 published by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org
private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational