November 13, 2012

Contents of this issue:

  • Voters reject Proposal 2, 58 percent vote ‘no’
  • Emergency manager law rejected; bankruptcies more likely
  • Parents sue Birmingham schools for item purchasing fees 
  • Willow Run and Ypsilanti schools to merge
  • Parent sues Livonia schools for report of alleged abuse 

Voters Reject Proposal 2, 58 Percent Vote ‘No’

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan voters rejected Proposal 2, a ballot measure that would have placed government union collective bargaining agreements above state law, with 58 percent voting against it, according to The New York Times.

The Times reports that, even though President Barack Obama won the state, Prop 2 received fewer votes, suggesting many Democrats voted against it.
Richard Studley, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, told The Times that Prop 2’s passage would have worsened Michigan’s business climate.
”The heart of the proposal was an unprecedented provision to retroactively repeal up to 170 different laws, many of them cost-saving measures,” he told The Times. “Many taxpayers were stunned to learn that the cost of such repeals could be $400 million to local school districts.”
SOURCE: The New York Times, “In Michigan, a Setback for Unions,” Nov. 8, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Voters Avert Disaster by Rejecting Proposal 2," Nov. 8, 2012

Emergency Manager Law Rejected; Bankruptcies More Likely

LANSING, Mich. – A proposal to keep Michigan’s stronger emergency manager law failed last Tuesday, according to MLive.

With the stronger law gone, MLive reports that the state’s older emergency financial manager law —which does not allow EFMs to modify existing government employee union contracts —will likely remain.
Gov. Rick Snyder told MLive that without the stronger law, “the probability of municipal bankruptcies could increase, because that could really be the only option left.”
According to MLive, Republican Michigan legislators have put together a replacement for the emergency manager law, and that Gov. Rick Snyder will be meeting with legislators to discuss how quickly to push for a replacement bill.
SOURCE: MLive, “Michigan emergency manager law: What’s next after Public Act 4 repeal?” Nov. 11, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Prop 1 Defeat a Loss for Struggling School Districts,” Nov. 7, 2012

Parents Sue Birmingham Schools for Item Purchasing Fees

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Birmingham Public Schools for charging students for school supplies, The Oakland Press reports.

According to The Press, the suit says that students are required to purchase gym uniforms, workbooks, magazines and other items. The lawsuit charges that this is in violation of the State Constitution, and a State Board of Education position statement, The Press reports.
According to The Press, Birmingham officials sent a letter to parents acknowledging that some of the fees charged were “beyond what is permitted,” but that officials did not offer to refund fees previously paid by parents.
SOURCE: The Oakland Press, “Student’s parents file lawsuit against Birmingham Public Schools,” Nov. 9, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Back-to-School Shopping, Aug. 3, 2012

Willow Run and Ypsilanti School Districts to Merge

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Voters in both the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts voted to merge their districts, AnnArbor.com reports.

The consolidation move is unprecedented in Michigan, according to AnnArbor.com, and steps will have to be taken to address the combined districts’ deficit of more than $15 million.
Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel told AnnArbor.com that the school districts hope to receive a “sizeable portion” of $10 million in state money that Gov. Rick Snyder set aside for districts that consolidate services.
The new district will become official on July 1, 2013, according to AnnArbor.com. 
SOURCE: AnnArbor.com, “What’s next? Merger puts Ypsilanti-Willow Run school districts in ‘uncharted territory’,” Nov. 8, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “After Five Years of Deficits, District Signed Contract Paying 100 Percent of Health Care," Sept. 7, 2012

Parent Sues Livonia Schools for Report of Alleged Abuse

LIVONIA, Mich. – A parent has sued Livonia schools for the release of an internal report on allegations that a district teacher abused a student, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

According to the Observer & Eccentric, the teacher is alleged to have slapped, grabbed and force-fed special-needs preschoolers.
The teacher resigned on Oct. 22, four months after the Livonia school board voted unanimously to ask the Teacher Tenure Commission to terminate her, the Observer & Eccentric reported.
Previously, a court injunction barred the public from accessing a copy of the internal report on the incident, according to the Observer & Eccentric. The lawsuit argues that the teacher’s resignation should allow the release of the report because the tenure question is moot, the Observer & Eccentric reported.
She is on paid administrative leave until March 31, 2013, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

SOURCE: The Observer & Eccentric, “Parent sues Livonia schools, seeking release of report on alleged abuse,” Nov. 6, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Do Teachers Really Need More ‘Protection?’” Oct. 30, 2012