Contents of this issue:

  • Traverse City school district asks for $100 million bond
  • Zeeland district may not have to pay ex-superintendent’s salary
  • Washtenaw County charter public school enrollment increases
  • DPS asks for $81 million tax renewal
  • Bay City teacher contract prohibits students recording class

Traverse City School District Asks for $100 Million Bond

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Traverse City school district is asking voters to approve a $100 million bond this November, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

The Record-Eagle reports that voters will choose whether to increase the district’s 3.1 mill bond levy to 3.9 mills. According to the Record-Eagle, the district spent $20,000 to send letters to voters asking that they authorize the bond.
Some are questioning whether the district has spent public money inappropriately. Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman told the Record-Eagle he thinks the district’s mailer is a violation of state law that prohibits public money from being used to support or defeat ballot questions.
SOURCE: The Traverse City Record-Eagle, “Mailboxes fill up with TCAPS millage info,” Oct. 4, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “School Advocacy in Bond Elections Questioned,” Nov. 1, 2010

Zeeland District May Not Have to Pay Ex-Superintendent’s Salary

ZEELAND, Mich. – Former Zeeland Superintendent Dave Barry may no longer be able to collect his $160,000 salary, according to the Holland Sentinel.

The Sentinel reports that Barry resigned in June after it was discovered that he had plagiarized part of an employee newsletter. Part of the agreement between Barry and the district, according to the Sentinel, was that the district would pay his salary through June 30, 2013, if he was unable to find work.
According to the Sentinel, Barry may be working at Western Michigan University as a part-time instructor. The Sentinel reports that Barry is listed on WMU’s website as a part-time instructor, and reported on his LinkedIn account that he started working at the university in August.
SOURCE: Holland Sentinel, "Ex-Zeeland school chief Dave Barry working at Western Michigan" Oct. 5, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Zeeland superintendent suspended for plagiarism," June 9, 2012

Washtenaw County Charter Public School Enrollment Increases

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Enrollment at Washtenaw County charter public schools increased by more than 28 percent compared to the previous year, according to

Arbor Preparatory High School had one of the largest increases in enrollment, reports, from 161 students to 369 students.
Buddy Moorehouse, vice president of communications for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, told that charter school enrollment across the state is on the rise.
But, he told, “Almost 60 percent of the charters in the state have waiting lists.”
SOURCE:, “By the numbers: Washtenaw County charter schools boost enrollment by more than 28 percent," Oct 3, 2012 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Arbitrary Cap on Charter Schools Lifted," Dec. 11, 2011

DPS Asks for $81 Million Tax Renewal

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools officials are asking voters to renew an 18 mill tax, according to The Detroit News.

The tax provides about $81 million annually, or 21 percent of the district’s revenue, The News reports, and is levied on industrial, commercial and rental properties. Owner-occupied residences are not subject to the tax, according to The News.
The tax renewal is supported by both the Detroit Federation of Teachers and by DPS Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts, The News reports.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “DPS rallies for $81M tax renewal," Oct. 5, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Detroiters Yearn for Tuition Tax Credits," Jan. 29, 2010

Bay City Teacher Contract Prohibits Students Recording Class

BAY CITY, Mich. – The teachers contract in Bay City Public Schools prohibits students from recording their classes without a teacher’s permission, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the teacher may also review and edit students’ classroom recordings. According to MLive, such contract provisions are not unusual.
However, reports MLive, other school districts have chosen to embrace technology. The Godfrey-Lee school district allows students to use smartphones as a learning tool.
Godfrey-Lee Superintendent David Britten told MLive that “Part of our job is to teach students to use technology responsibly. If a student writes something inappropriate, you don’t take away his pencil. You teach them about the consequences.”
SOURCE: MLive, “Should students be allowed to record lessons, look up information on their smartphones?,” Oct. 7, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, "Union Contract: Teachers Can Be caught in School Drunk Five Times and On Drugs Three Times Before Being Fired" Sept. 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.

Contact Managing Editor Michael Van Beek at

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