Contents of this issue:

  • Charter Schools USA buys vacant Target building in Warren 
  • Senator proposes equalizing school funding throughout Michigan 
  • Orchard View union negotiations fall through 
  • Detroit may close 28 schools 
  • Feds to investigate school closings, statewide district

Charter Schools USA Buys Vacant Target Building in Warren

WARREN, Mich. – A charter public school management company, Charter Schools USA, has purchased a vacant Target building in Warren, The Detroit News reports.

According to The News, Charter Schools USA operates nearly 50 charter public schools in five other states. If the company opens a school in Michigan, it would be its first charter public school in the state, The News reports.
The former Target store is located between 11 and 12 Mile roads in Warren, north of Detroit, and has been vacant since October 2009, according to The News.
SOURCE: Detroit News, “Charter school firm buys vacant Warren Target building,” Jan. 22, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “School Districts Closed Because of Excessive Teacher Absences Over Right-to-Work," Dec. 11, 2012

Senator Proposes Equalizing School Funding Throughout Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is proposing that the state provide all Michigan public schools with equal per-pupil funding within 10 years, MLive reports.

Jones told MLive that it’s “not fair” that some districts receive $7,000 per student, while others receive $10,000 or more.
According to MLive, Jones’ proposal would need at least two-thirds approval in both the Michigan House and Senate in order to pass.
Jones told MLive that he would also be introducing a bill to rework bus funding by providing schools with a 50-cent reimbursement for transporting students to and from school.
SOURCE: MLive, “Michigan school funding proposal would seek more financial equality among districts,” Jan. 34, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Unequal Funding Myth," July 6, 2010

Orchard View Union Negotiations Fall Through

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Union negotiations at the Orchard View School District have fallen through, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that the Orchard View district will implement a 5 percent salary cut for teachers in order to address financial difficulties.
The cut will likely be put into effect in early February, according to The News.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “West Michigan school board to cut teacher pay by 5%,” Jan. 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Right-to-Work: What Now for Schools?” Dec. 12, 2012

Detroit May Close 28 Schools

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools may close 28 more buildings by 2016 if enrollment trends continue, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that as many as 13,000 students could leave the district by 2016. DPS currently has about 50,000 students, according to the Free Press.
A revised deficit elimination plan approved for DPS by the Michigan Department of Education estimates that the district will have a surplus of $2.6 million by June 30, 2016, the Free Press reports.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Detroit to lose 28 more schools by 2016, Roy Roberts says,” Jan. 24, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Great Emigration, Feb. 7, 2005 

Feds to Investigate School Closings, Statewide District

DETROIT – The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Detroit Public Schools due to complaints over school building closures and transfers, according to The Detroit News.

A group called “Keep the Vote/No Takeover” filed three complaints, according to The News.
The first was against the closure of DPS schools and the transfer of DPS schools to a statewide district, The News reports. The second complaint concerned actions taken against students protesting against school closings, and the third complaint, according to The News, alleges discriminatory practices in the setup of the statewide district.
Steve Wasko, spokesperson for DPS, told The News in an email that the district “intends to fully cooperate…just as we have with the many prior complaints filed by these same groups.”

SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Feds launch probe of DPS school closings, statewide school district,” Jan. 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Pontiac Turnaround Stories: City Vs. Schools,” July 2, 2012