Contents of this issue:

  • CEPI: 2008 grad rate is 75 percent
  • Muskegon settles on health plan
  • Stimulus pays for career training
  • Board members challenge recall      
  • Ypsi adopts deficit budget


DETROIT - A state report shows that about 75 percent of Michigan's Class of 2008 graduated within four years, the Detroit Free Press reported, while the dropout rate among that cohort was 14 percent. Of the remainder, most are classified as "off-track" but continuing their high school education, the state report indicates.

In related news, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan has challenged all schools to identify and assist 10 to 15 students who show warning signs of dropping out, the Free Press reported.

The report was issued by the Center for Educational Performance and Information. It calculates graduation rates for public schools based on the number of students who enroll as first-time ninth graders and who receive a regular diploma within four years, after adjusting numbers for transfers.

Jessie Kilgore, chief administrative officer for the Plymouth Educational Center Preparatory Academy, told the Free Press that his school already has signed on to the challenge. A charter public school in Detroit, the center is adding one grade at a time until it reaches full K-12 status in 2011-12, the Free Press reported.

"We cannot allow these kids to continue to slip through the cracks," Kilgore told the Free Press.

Westwood Community Schools has added an alternative program in which students and parents sign contracts to complete school work, the Free Press reported. Superintendent Ernie Minghine said his district likely will sign up for the new challenge as well.

Detroit Free Press, "State to schools: ID likely dropouts," July 3, 2009

Center for Educational Performance and Instruction, "State of Michigan 2008 Cohort 4-Year and 2007 Cohort 5-Year Graduation/Dropout Rate Reports"

Michigan Education Report, "Hope in state graduation standards misplaced," March 7, 2006


MUSKEGON, Mich. - Muskegon teachers will see reduced insurance premium contributions but increased copays under the terms of a new contract agreement, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

Teachers will shift from the Super Care I health plan administered by the Michigan Education Special Services Association to MESSA's Choices II preferred provider plan, The Chronicle reported. They now will have a copay for office and emergency room visits and will move to a $10/$20 drug copay for generic and brand name prescription medication, respectively, rather than a $5/$10 plan.

Teachers also will pay 7.5 percent of the total Choices II premium, down from the 10 percent they paid for Super Care I, according to The Chronicle.

The new contract also gives teachers a small raise, according to The Chronicle. In other changes, administrators will be allowed to view teachers' lesson plans up to six times a year, rather than two, The Chronicle reported. Teachers' work days have been shortened by 40 minutes at the elementary and middle school level and 38 minutes at the high school level, though actual instructional time has been increased by about five minutes per day districtwide.

Finally, The Chronicle reported that new language no longer allows the board to "protect" up to four teachers from displacement or layoff, a provision said to help the district avoid retraining costs. The teachers union will continue to be allowed to protect up to six teachers, the report said.

The Muskegon Chronicle, "Muskegon teachers, school board reach new pact," July 4, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Muskegon to give away buildings," March 21, 2009


ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Federal stimulus money has turned an educational experience into paying jobs for 18 students enrolled in a program at Beaumont Hospital, according to a report in The Oakland Press.

Oakland County received almost $5 million in stimulus money to support youth work programs for 14- to 24-year-olds, The Press reported, some of which is going to pay students who are exploring health careers at the hospital. Previously the students participated without pay.

Brandon Woods, 18, an Oak Park High School graduate, is making $9 an hour as he studies physical therapy, according to The Press. He told The Press he is saving the money to pay his tuition at Central Michigan University this fall.

Other public and private companies are participating in the jobs program as well, The Press reported. Students benefit not only from the training and wages but also by meeting and working with adults who become role models, Lori Fidler, executive director of The Oak Park Business and Education Alliance, told The Press.

The program will continue next year with more stimulus funding, though a third year is uncertain, The Press reported.

The Oakland Press, "Federal stimulus helps fund youth work program," July 2, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit Cristo Rey: A new option in Catholic education," June 16, 2008


ERIE, Mich. - A recall effort against four school board members is under investigation by Michigan State Police, but a detective said that his work might not be finished before the recall election itself, according to The Monroe Evening News.

Four Mason Consolidated Schools Board of Education members are named on recall petitions alleging that they "disregarded district policy regarding a middle school principal termination vote," The News reported.

The principal was hired through a private firm and then fired by the school superintendent, according to The News, which reported that there have been contentious and conflicting accounts of the event.

State police are investigating allegations made by the board members that the signatures on recall petitions were obtained improperly, The News reported, a charge that the recall organizer denies.

The election is scheduled for Aug. 4, but Detective Sgt. David Meyer told The News it is possible the investigation will not be finished until late August.

The Monroe Evening News, "A school district in turmoil," June 27, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Gladstone recall halted," March 16, 2009


YPSILANTI, Mich. - The Ypsilanti school district plans to spend about $3 million more than it takes in during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which means it also will have to file a deficit elimination plan with the state to explain the shortfall, The Ann Arbor News reported.

The budget calls for $53.3 million in spending, but only $51.4 million in revenue, The News reported. Either number could change depending on fall enrollment, the sale of a school building to Eastern Michigan University and state funding levels, according to The News. In addition, more than $1.7 million of the revenue will be needed to pay off an existing deficit, the report said.

Board members have said they do not want to cut into district programs, The News reported. Administrators and support staff employees have taken a 3 percent wage cut.

The Willow Run school district, also in Washtenaw County, has been operating under a deficit reduction plan for several years, according to The News.

The Ann Arbor News, "Ypsilanti school board approves deficit spending plan for next year," June 30, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit not the only school district seeing red," June 30, 2008

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at

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