Contents of this issue:

  • Goodrich refuses to outsource, cuts 17 teachers
  • Bill would require teachers unions to pay for union work
  • School leaders want to innovate the way online charters can
  • Senate bill would change kindergarten cutoff
  • Flexible charter public school increases test scores
  • Tecumseh schools spending tax dollars on tourism campaign

Goodrich Refuses to Outsource, Cuts 17 Teachers

GOODRICH, Mich. – Goodrich Area Schools will lay off 17 teachers and increase class sizes after refusing to outsource noninstructional services, according to the Grand Blanc View.

The board of education sought bids to privatize janitors, bus drivers and paraprofessionals, but instead will cut teachers to make up for overspending $1.6 million, the View reported.

“You said these cuts are not going to affect the kids,” Goodrich Education Association President Cathy Rivet said at a recent board meeting, according to the View. “How do you feel this is not going to affect our children?”

SOURCE: The Goodrich View, “Goodrich avoids outsourcing, cuts teachers, staff,” May 24, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Utica Schools to Save Millions with Private Custodians,” May 19, 2012

Bill Would Require Teachers Unions to Pay for Union Work

LANSING, Mich. – Taxpayers would no longer have to foot the bill for teachers union bosses who spend all or part of their day on union business instead of teaching, according to MLive.

House Bill 4059 passed in that chamber last year and is now before the Senate Reforms, Reinventing and Restructuring Committee. If signed into law, it would apply to all government unions.

The bill allows for what is commonly referred to as “release time” in schools only if the teachers union reimburses the district for the cost of a substitute teacher, MLive reported.

“Taxpayers should not have to pay for the union to do union business,” Rep. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, the bill’s sponsor, told MLive.

SOURCE: MLive, “Teachers union leaders would no longer be freed from classroom time under bill before Michigan Senate committee,” May 15, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Michigan Senate Takes Up Bill to Ban Government Union Stewards Working on Taxpayers’ Dime," May 18, 2012, “Ban putting union stewards on public payroll”

School Leaders Want to Innovate the Way Online Charters Can

SUTTONS BAY, Mich. – One administrator of a conventional school district says he'd like to have the flexibility to innovate the way online charter public schools are allowed to, according to Channel 7&4.

Recently signed legislation expands the number of such cyber charter schools and will increase the number of students allowed to enroll from 2,000 to 30,000.

“There are school districts out there that are trying to innovate and trying to move forward … it would be nice to know that the state supports schools that are trying the innovations that our governor and legislators are asking for instead of having more competition thrown at us,” Suttons Bay Superintendent Mike Murray told 7&4.

SOURCE: Channel 7&4, “School leaders see cyber schools as threat to state funding," May 21, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “House Votes to Raise Cyber School Cap" April 27, 2012

Senate Bill Would Change Kindergarten Cutoff

LANSING, Mich. – Proposed legislation that would require children be 5 years of age by Sept. 1 before entering in kindergarten would bring Michigan more in line with the rest of the country, according to the Detroit Free Press. Nearly 40 states have cutoff dates earlier than October. Michigan’s current deadline is Dec. 1.

The Senate Fiscal Agency reports that the state would save $150 million in school funding by the third year as the program is phased in, moving the deadline up one month each year, the Free Press reported.

“I believe, in the long run, our children will be better off because of it,” Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, who sponsored the legislation, told the Free Press.

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Push to raise Michigan’s kindergarten start age gains steam as curriculum gets harder” May 20, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Carnac Predicts: Schools will try to enroll kids who are too young,” May 7, 2012, “Senate Bill 315: Require kindergartners be 5 on Sept. 1”

Flexible Charter Public School Increases Test Scores

MUSKEGON, Mich. – WayPoint Academy, a charter public school, increased test scores and will avoid closure after increasing the length of the school day and adding Saturday classes, according to MLive.

The school was on the verge of closing due to poor performance, MLive reported.

Rob Kimball, senior director of operations and policy at the Grand Valley State University Charter School Office, said WayPoint was “one of our lower performing schools,” but moved from “unacceptable to above expectations,” according to MLive. Unlike conventional public schools, charters face having their authorization removed and closing down if they do not meet student performance expectations.

“Because they’re nonunion, (teachers) can agree to work outside traditional hours,” Karen Blue-Jenkins, transition director at WayPoint, told MLive. “And we don’t have any problems getting teachers to do that.”

SOURCE: MLive, “Longer school days, class on weekends result in improvements at WayPoint Academy,” May 22, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Should Teachers Be Treated Less Professionally Than Linebackers?” Sept. 2, 2011

Tecumseh Schools Spending Tax Dollars on Tourism Campaign

TECUMSEH, Mich. – Tecumseh Public Schools will spend tax dollars intended to educate students on a tourism campaign through the state’s Pure Michigan advertising program, according to The (Adrian) Daily Telegram.

The school district, city of Tecumseh, Tecumseh Township and the Tecumseh Downtown Development Authority will all spend tax dollars on the effort, The Daily Telegram reported. Private businesses and individuals will also contribute toward the costs of producing the $25,000 television commercial, according to The Daily Telegram. The newspaper did not indicate how much in tax dollars the district will divert from educating students toward the noneducational effort.

SOURCE: The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Tecumseh to join ‘Pure Michigan’ campaign,” May 23, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Pure Michigan’s Bid for More Tax Money," March 28, 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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