Contents of this issue:

  • Teacher retirements may not be helping newcomers
  • Suttons Bay tests public transit
  • May elections will cost schools more
  • Year-round school would be teacher training site
  • East Grand Rapids limits choice enrollment


DETROIT — Metro Detroit public school districts are bypassing entry-level teacher applicants in favor of hiring experienced educators to fill jobs left open by retirees, the Detroit Free Press reported.

School officials said they prefer to hire experienced teachers and forego the payroll savings that hiring newcomers would allow, the Free Press reported.

About 17,000 public school teachers retired statewide when offered a one-time incentive by the state this year. The deal was intended to help school districts save money by filling those jobs with beginning educators at lower salaries, the Free Press reported.

But officials in 13 of 15 districts polled by the Free Press said that they opted for experience first when hiring, the Press reported.

"Certainly, if you had candidates with proven experience, that's very attractive, and the candidates we had this year have outstanding experience," Tim McAvoy, Utica Community Schools spokesman, told the Free Press. Of the 49 teachers hired by Utica this year, three were new college graduates, the Free Press reported.

Many districts received thousands of applications for job openings, the Free Press reported.

Detroit Free Press, "School districts prefer skilled teachers to savings," Sept. 19, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Teacher Experience," June 30, 2008


SUTTONS BAY, Mich. — Suttons Bay Public Schools students are riding public transit buses to school in a yearlong trial that will become permanent if successful, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Suttons Bay eliminated its own transportation services, saving $500,000 which it then used to retain approximately seven teaching positions, according to the Record-Eagle.

The district and the Bay Area Transportation Authority worked to arrange bus runs that are similar to the district's previous routes, the Record-Eagle reported.

Adults are allowed to board the bus as well; after school children are dropped off the bus continues on to other sites, the report said.

Cameras were to be installed on the buses, and plans are to provide each student with a bus pass, the report said.

Traverse City Record-Eagle, "Suttons Bay students board BATA-driven buses," Sept. 8, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Privatization Up 8 Percent," Sept. 10, 2010


HAZEL PARK, Mich. — If the Hazel Park and Ferndale public school districts continue to hold elections in May rather than November, their costs are likely to increase from 60 to 100 percent, the (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune reported.

The cities of Hazel Park and Ferndale don't want to conduct May elections for the districts any longer because they are not allowed to charge back the full cost, the Tribune reported. But if Oakland County takes over, the cost to districts will rise because the county can charge the full amount, Joe Rozell, Oakland County director of elections, told the Tribune.

Switching to November elections would allow each district to add its items to the general election ballot at no cost, Rozell told the Tribune.

Hazel Park and Ferndale are the only districts in Oakland County that have not switched to November elections, the Tribune reported.

Ferndale Schools Superintendent Gary Meier told the Tribune that a school board committee is studying the issue and is expected to make recommendations in October.

(Royal Oak) Daily Tribune, "Cities to drop Hazel Park, Ferndale school elections," Sept. 17, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Clerks: School elections waste money," April 2, 2010


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ann Arbor Public Schools is developing a year-round, extended-day school that also will serve as a community center for local families, according to The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

A joint effort with the University of Michigan, the K-8 "lab school" would integrate operations at an existing elementary school and middle school into a combined campus, the report said.

The school would serve as a learning site for intern teachers, Ann Arbor Public Schools teachers and university faculty, the report said.

The arrangement is not expected to increase district costs, The Chronicle reported. Two pilot projects are planned for the current academic year, followed by full programming in 2011-2012, the report said.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle, "AAPS, UM to Open 'Lab School,'" Sept. 14, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Teacher research in Michigan," March 10, 2010


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — East Grand Rapids Public Schools accepted fewer schools-of-choice students this year, reflecting a priority on smaller class size and a belief that students who attend schools there should live in the district, officials told The Grand Rapids Press.

The district accepted 16 schools-of-choice students in elementary grades, down from 19 last year, The Press reported.

School board President Brian Ellis told The Press that board members want to keep class sizes small and to avoid reliance on a strategy of balancing the budget with the additional money that choice students bring.

"We want people to buy a home here," he said. "We're a great community and a great place to educate kids. But if people want to send their children to our schools, they should buy a home."

The Grand Rapids Press, "East Grand Rapids says families who want to attend its schools should buy home in district," Sept. 14, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Class Size Myth," Aug. 2, 2010

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (, an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at

To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to