Contents of this issue:

  • Members named to school quality workgroup
  • Bill introduced to expand physical education requirements
  • Michigan public universities under scrutiny
  • Charter public schools save state $36 million to $52 million
  • Emergency manager needed for Highland Park Schools

Members Named to School Quality Workgroup

LANSING, Mich. — Members have been named to a bipartisan, bicameral workgroup on school quality, according to the Ann Arbor Journal. The workgroup was created as part of the legislation that lifted the cap on charter public schools and is supposed to make recommendations for improving both conventional and charter public schools.

The Journal reports the workgroup is made up of eight members, four from the House and four from the Senate, but is less balanced politically with two Democrats and six Republicans. The workgroup will report back to the House and Senate education committees by March 30, 2012, after which it will disband.


The Ann Arbor Journal, "Members of bicameral, bipartisan school quality workgroup named; Rep. Rutledge of Ypsilanti among them," Dec. 31, 2011


Michigan Education Report, “State to schools: think outside the classroom,” Oct. 2, 2009

Bill Introduced to Expand Physical Education Requirements

LANSING, Mich. — Rep. Maureen Stapleton, D-Detroit, has introduced a bill that would mandate physical education requirements for elementary and middle schools, according to Ann Elementary students would be required to have 30 minutes of physical education twice a week, while junior high students would have 45 minutes per day. Additional health education courses would be required for all grades and all physical and health education classes would be required to have student-teacher ratios similar to other classroom settings, Ann reported.

Several districts already meet some of the proposed requirements, according to Ann Traverse City Area Public Schools, for example, does not meet the middle school requirements but exceeds the requirements for elementary students.

SOURCE:, “Bill would mandate physical education in all public K-12 schools,” Dec. 31, 2011

FURTHER READING:, “2011 House Bill 5019: Mandate school physical and health education hours

Michigan public universities under scrutiny

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation has been introduced that could lead to the elimination of independent governing boards at 13 of Michigan’s public universities, according to The Livingston Daily Press & Argus. The bill would create a 13-member University System Restructuring Commission tasked with evaluating the efficiency of the universities’ operations and oversight and offer suggestions for improvement in an annual report.

State Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Genoa Township, is a co-sponsor of the bill and told the Livingston Daily that while the commission may initially explore the necessity of multiple independent governing boards, its focus will be on generating a wide range of recommendations.

"I don't know that there's any hard-core direction. It's more the conversation," Rogers told the Livingston Daily.

According to the Livingston Daily, Michigan is the only state to not have a coordinating board to oversee its public universities.


The Livingston Daily Press & Argus, “University boards to be reduced?” Jan. 3, 2012

FURTHER READING:, “2011 House Bill 5000: Create state university governance structure study commission

Charter Public Schools Save State $36 Million to $52 Million

LANSING, Mich. — Charter public schools save the state of Michigan between $36 million and $52 million annually, according to the Saline Reporter. The savings are the result of charter public schools receiving smaller per-pupil foundation allowances compared to conventional public schools.

Currently, charter public schools receive a maximum per-pupil foundation allowance of $7,110. According to the Reporter, if that cap was raised to the maximum $8,019 that conventional public schools get, charter public schools would receive an additional $52 million statewide. If the cap was only raised to the lesser of $8,019 or whatever the local district receives, public school expenditures would increase by $36 million.


The Saline Reporter, “Charter schools would receive an extra $36 to $52 million statewide if per-pupil spending matched local districts,” Jan. 3, 2012


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How School Funding Works: Myths About Michigan’s Foundation Allowance,” May 12, 2010

Emergency Manager Needed for Highland Park Schools

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — A financial review team has asked Gov. Snyder to appoint an emergency financial manager for Highland Park Schools, according to The Detroit News. If the governor accepts the recommendation, Highland Park would join Detroit Public Schools as the only two school districts in the state with an emergency manager.

According to The News, Highland Park’s debt increased 51 percent over the last year to $11.3 million. The district ran a $3.8 million deficit in fiscal year 2011. Student enrollment has also plunged according to the News, dropping from 3,179 students in 2006 to 1,331 for the 2010-11 school year. The district is expected to drop below 1,000. The News also reports the review team found school officials to be uncooperative and that the district has a history of reporting inaccurate financial information to the Department of education.


The Detroit News, “Highland Park schools facing financial crisis,” Jan. 5, 2012


Michigan Education Digest, “Detroit Public Schools shows first surplus in four years,” Dec. 6, 2011

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 Kyle Jackson at

To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to