Contents of this issue:

  • DFT: Up to 900 Detroit teachers expected to retire this summer
  • Stockbridge students use underwater robot to search for remains
  • State approves Pontiac deficit elimination plan
  • Next round of EduJobs funding to be dispersed next month
  • Highland Park EM ‘fully expects’ district to be open next year

DFT: Up to 900 Detroit Teachers Expected to Retire This Summer

DETROIT — Officials from the Detroit Federation of Teachers expect up to 900 teachers to retire before the beginning of next school year, according to The Detroit News.

That estimate is based on the more than 820 teachers who have contacted the union regarding a recent court settlement that allows teachers to partially cash out banked sick time, according to The News. Teachers must have filed for retirement by March 26th to receive pay for half of their remaining sick days.

DFT President Keith Johnson told The News he thought the recent settlement would only affect the plans of a small amount of the 1,000 to 1,300 Detroit teachers eligible to retire this year.

"Many of our members don't have enough sick days for it to matter to them about cashing them out,” he told The News. “As a result, they were not in a hurry to submit their separation of service. Many will still retire effective April 1, May 1, and even Sept. 1 (because they wish to teach summer school)."


The Detroit News, “600 to 900 teachers in Detroit expected to retire," March 21, 2012


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Why Is the State Bribing Teachers to Retire?" March 8, 2012

Stockbridge Students Use Underwater Robot to Search for Remains

STOCKBRIDGE, Mich. — Eight Stockbridge High School students and their teacher are taking their custom-built underwater robot to the Micronesian island chain of Palau to search for a B-24 bomber shot down during World War II, according to MLive. The students raised $40,000 to pay for the trip to search for the remains of American servicemen.

“This will be the ultimate test,” Buck Poszywak, a junior on the team, told MLive. “It’s really exciting. We’ve already been successful in building the robot and raising the money for the trip, but it would be sweet to find that plane.”

The students have been working since September on an underwater robot capable of diving 500 feet, according to MLive. It has several commercial-grade components including sonar donated by SeaView Systems Inc. of Dexter.

“It’s a pretty high-tech robot for high school students,” Bob Richards, the teacher who is overseeing the project, told MLive.

MLive reports that while in Palau the students will also do some sightseeing and snorkeling, as well as visit the U.S. Embassy and a couple of local high schools.

SOURCE:, “Stockbridge students ready to test underwater robot on World War II recovery mission in Palau,” March 21, 2012


Michigan Science, “Michigan High Schools Excel at Robotics Competition,” June 9, 2009

State Approves Pontiac Deficit Elimination Plan

PONTIAC, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Education has approved a deficit elimination plan for Pontiac Public Schools, according to The Detroit News, but the district could still face sanctions, including a loss of state funding, if it fails to fulfill the steps in the approved plan.

The News reports the plan is based on reducing staffing, negotiating wage concessions and boosting enrollment. To help accomplish these goals, the district will close one elementary school by the beginning of next year.

"Had the board not made the decision to close a building and adopt a policy to address staff reductions, I am confident that the state would not have approved our plan," Pontiac Interim Superintendent Walter Burt told The News.

While accepting the deficit elimination plan, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan warned the district it needed to find another way to make the necessary expenditure cuts should it fail to find concessions or staffing reductions, according to The News.

"[T]he Department expects that if the district is unable to realize the staffing reductions and the projected wage concessions, it will institute other expenditure reductions in order to maintain the schedule detailed in the plan," Flanagan wrote in a letter to the school board.


The Detroit News, “Pontiac schools deficit plan OK'd,” March 21, 2012


Michigan Education Report, “Pontiac district found to be $24 million in debt,” Nov. 26, 2011

Next Round of EduJobs Funding To Be Dispersed Next Month

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Schools near Battle Creek will receive more than $637,000 next month as part of the EduJobs funding, according to The Battle Creek Enquirer. Overall, schools across the state will get a total of $22.2 million from the federal government meant to save or create school jobs.

The Enquirer reports Battle Creek-area districts are projected to run a combined $14 million deficit this year.


The Battle Creek Enquirer, “Local schools to get more EduJobs funds,” March 21, 2012


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “'EduJobs' Fact Check,” Aug. 11, 2010

Highland Park EM ‘Fully Expects’ District to Be Open Next Year

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — Jack Martin, Highland Park’s emergency manager, has no plans to close the district or merge it into Detroit Public Schools anytime soon, according to MLive.

"We fully expect there to be a school district in Highland Park next year," Martin told MLive after meeting with the financial review team for the city of Detroit.

MLive reports Martin is currently focusing on ways to improve the district’s curriculum while also exploring options to “create opportunities” for district students who have dropped out of school.

SOURCE:, “Jack Martin: 'We fully expect there to be a school district in Highland Park next year',” March 22, 2012


Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Bloated Teacher Contracts Much to Blame for Issues in Highland Park, Muskegon,” March 12, 2012

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.

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