April 30, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • EAA got $6 million loan from DPS, without board approval 
  • Flanagan to head public education work group 
  • Pontiac to be reviewed for possible emergency manager
  • Portland opening virtual school for 2013-14 school year 
  • New college scholarship program created for Detroit students 

EAA Got $6 Million Loan From DPS, Without Board Approval

DETROIT – The state Education Achievement Authority system took $6 million in loans from Detroit Public Schools without approval from the EAA board, according to The Detroit News.

EAA board member Mike Duggan told The News that “The board has never approved a loan from DPS. I’m pretty confident the board was never advised of it, either.”
The News reports that documents show that the EAA was set to pay DPS back in installments, starting March 20. According to The News, it is not clear whether payments have been made.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Duggan: Recovery district got $6 million in DPS loans,” April 26, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “EAA Bill Has Problems," March 22, 2013

Flanagan to Head Public Education Work Group

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Superintendent Mike Flanagan will head a public work group to reform and update the state education system, according to WWJ CBS. Gov. Rick Snyder asked Flanagan to head the group, WWJ CBS reported, after news outlets reported the efforts of a private group was working to reform the state education system.

The private group was working on proposals to create schools that could educate students for just $5,000 per year, and models that would allow students more educational choices, according to WWJ CBS.
The public group will, WWJ CBS reports, will work on adapting public education to new advances in technology, and will attempt to find ways to save schools money.
SOURCE: WWJ CBS, “Michigan School Chief To Lead Education Work Group,” April 25, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Group works on plan for inexpensive public education model,” April 23, 2013

Pontiac to be Reviewed for Possible Emergency Manager

PONTIAC, Mich. – The Detroit News reports that the Pontiac School District finances will be reviewed to determine whether the district might need an emergency manager. According to The News, the review was to begin on Monday.

The News reports that the Pontiac district has a history of spending more money than it takes in. According to The News, the district is set to spend $37.7 million more than it has this year, and the district overspent by $24.5 million last year.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Pontiac schools face preliminary financial review by state,” April 26, 2013 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “In Pontiac, MEA Local Raises $12K For School Supplies While Union Health Insurance Arm Sues District for $7.8 Million," March 11, 2013

Portland Opening Virtual School for 2013-14 School Year

PORTLAND, Mich. – The Portland Public School District is opening a new virtual school for the 2013-14 school year, according to a Lansing State Journal column by Marilyn Stock, the director of the district’s alternative program.

Students will be able to work on courses at any time, and from any place, Stock writes. The virtual school is a part of the district’s Adult and Community Educations Alternative Education program, according to Stock, and the program is targeted toward students who need greater educational flexibility due to health conditions or a lack of success, among other factors.
Students can choose to enroll entirely in virtual courses, or can take a mix of conventional courses and virtual courses, Stock writes.
SOURCE: Lansing State Journal, “Portland Public Schools offer Virtual School options,” April 24, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “A Virtual Learning Revolution,” March 7, 2011 

New College Scholarship Program Created for Detroit Students

DETROIT – A private program is providing Detroit students with two years of free community college, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that the program, which will be administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, will pay for community college costs, less Pell grants and state grants, for students graduating from any high school in the city of Detroit.
The program is funded with private donations, according to The News. In order to stay eligible, students must complete at least 24 credit hours per year and show satisfactory academic progress and standing, The News reports.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Scholarship program aims to help Detroit students pay for college,” April 16, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Private scholarships expand opportunities for low-income families, Sept. 13, 2000