Jail-based academy offers GED

PORT HURON, Mich. - About 270 inmates in the St. Clair County jail have earned General Education Diplomas through Intervention Academy, a charter public school that operates within the facility, according to the Port Huron Times Herald.

The number of participants has grown rapidly since the school opened in 2004, the Times Herald reported, serving people like Dennis McPherson, a ninth-grade dropout who is serving time for drug possession and pursuing a diploma at age 31.

"Now that I've been given the opportunity, I'm taking full advantage of it," McPherson told the Times Herald.

Denice Lapish, director of the academy, told the Times Herald that the school has a waiting list. Students must pass tests in science, math, reading, writing and social studies in order to receive a diploma, and enrollees range in age from 15 to 48.

The school's annual budget is about $900,000, with revenue coming from enrollment-based state funding as well as grants, the Times Herald reported.

The Port Huron Times Herald, "Seeking a new direction: Program helps inmates earn GED," March 1, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer: State Categorical Grants," May 30, 2007