June 3, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Proposal floated to elect State Board of Ed by district
  • District email addresses used to spread political message
  • Company claims DPS owes $18M, leaves district
  • Four Saline students score perfect on ACT
  • Federal broadband proposal would cost $2.9 billion

Proposal Floated to Elect State Board of Ed by District

LANSING, Mich. – Rep. Ed McBroom, R- Vulcan, is proposing subjecting State Board of Education members to district-level elections, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service (subscription required).

MIRS reports that board members are currently elected statewide, resulting in a board that disproportionately comes from the Detroit area. According to MIRS, seven board members are from southeast Michigan and one is from Grand Rapids.
“Who do my folks up in the U.P. or who the folks in Alpena or even down in Jackson, who do they go to on the State Board of Education when they have an issue,” McBroom asked MIRS. “Nobody. They don’t know these people. These people don’t get out and campaign in those areas.”
According to MIRS, the measure would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature as well as by voters in a general election.

SOURCE: Michigan Information & Research Service, “Proposal Would Allot State Board Of Ed Seats By District,” May 28, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “State Board of Education President Complains of ‘Right-Wing’ Agenda,” Feb. 13, 2013 

District Email Addresses Used to Spread Political Message

CANTON, Mich. – An email was sent to Plymouth-Canton employees encouraging them to support Dian Slavens, a Democratic candidate for State Senate, according to the Plymouth-Canton Perspective, the district’s student newspaper.

The email was sent by Canton Township Trustee Steven Sneideman, who told the Perspective that he did not use government funds or resources to send the email, which would be a violation of campaign finance law.
According to the Perspective, Slavens’ campaign has used district employee email addresses before to send a political message. Plymouth-Canton school board member Mark Maloney told the Perspective that Slavens had done this twice before, and each time blamed the maneuver on her campaign staff, and promised such action would not occur again.
District officials told the Perspective that employees cannot forward the email to others.
Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, who is being challenged by Slavens, told the Perspective that the email was “…a misuse of public resources…”

SOURCE: Plymouth-Canton Perspective, “Sneideman sends political email to district addresses,” April 17, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “District violated finance law, Secretary of State says," April 23, 2013 

Company Claims DPS Owes $18M, Leaves District

DETROIT – Sodexo, a company that helps Detroit Public Schools staff more than 400 school cleaning and maintenance positions, is leaving DPS at the end of June, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that Sodexo claims DPS owes it $18 million, while DPS claims Sodexo provided inferior services.
Company spokesperson Gregory Yost told the Free Press that the company will continue to pursue payment for the $18 million owed.

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Staffing firm that says it’s owed $18M pulls out of contract with DPS,” May 29, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Plymouth-Canton, Livonia Consider Food Service Merger," Aug. 9, 2011 

Four Saline Students Score Perfect on ACT

SALINE, Mich. – Four Saline High School students posted perfect ACT scores, according to the Saline Reporter.

The Reporter reports that less than 1 percent of students manage to score perfectly. In Michigan, only 77 students received perfect scores, according to the Reporter.
“It’s a pretty magnificent feat,” Saline High School Principal Julie Helber told the Reporter.

SOURCE: The Saline Reporter, “Four Saline High School students receive perfect ACT scores,” May 29, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Addy Has Her ACT Together, Nov. 5, 1998 

Federal Broadband Proposal Would Cost $2.9 Billion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama’s proposal to use government funding to upgrade broadband Internet access to U.S. schools would cost $2.9 billion, according to MLive.

MLive reports that Michigan is transitioning to computer-based student tests, which could include the use of the Internet. According to MLive, there is concern that some students do not have access to the Internet.
According to an estimate made earlier this year, a majority of Michigan school districts had the capability of offering online exams, MLive reports.

SOURCE: MLive, “Installing wireless networks in schools a $2.9 billion proposition nationwide,” May 31, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Government Broadband: Unnecessary and Unfair,” Feb. 6, 2006