Contents of this issue:
  • DPS to re-bid IT contract
  • Troy graduates concerned about personal information
  • Eleven running for two board of education seats
  • Saline teachers get new contract
  • Flint, Saginaw enrollment down more than projected

DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools could seek new bids on a $58 million technology contract after controversy arose over the relationship between Superintendent William F. Coleman III and one of the companies involved, according to The Detroit News.

The board of education met in closed session for more than two hours on Oct. 12. Coleman said he referred an associate to one of the bidding companies that eventually won a portion of the contract, The News reported.

"On the face of it, it looks suspicious, there's no question," board President Jimmy Womack told The News. Womack also said the board would not discipline Coleman until after an investigation is completed, according to The News.

The Detroit News, "DPS board stalls action on IT contract," Oct. 13, 2006 SearchID=73260130588123

Michigan Education Report, "DPS' credit rating falls after $259 million tax error," Dec. 15, 2005

Michigan Education Digest, "DPS must repay almost $1 million to feds," July 5, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "DPS limits 'excessive' retreat spending," May 23, 2006

TROY, Mich. — A group of alumni from Troy Athens High School wants the school district to pay for five years of free credit reports for each of them after personal information was reported missing, according to The Detroit News.

Troy Public Schools is not sure if a computer hard drive containing the names, addresses and Social Security numbers for about 4,400 people was lost or stolen, prompting concerns about identity theft, The News reported.

Nick Britzky, a 2000 graduate, told The News he is developing a Web site for alumni to monitor the situation, and has requested that the district pay for five years of free credit reports for those whose names were on the list.

Police are investigating the loss, which they believe occurred in August while the school was being renovated, according to The News.

The Detroit News, "Troy alumni confront district," Oct. 11, 2006

Michigan Education Report, "Education privacy law strengthened," Sept. 13, 2000

LANSING, Mich. — There are 11 candidates, including two sitting members, running for two open seats on the State Board of Education, according to WOOD-TV.

The incumbents are Democrat Reginald Turner, a Detroit attorney, who was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to serve an unexpired term in 2003, and Republican Eileen Weiser, whose husband, Ronald, served as ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2001-2004.

Challengers include Democrat Casandra Ulbrich, senior director of development for Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Republican Tom McMillin, former mayor of Auburn Hills and former Oakland County commissioner, WOOD-TV reported.

Third-party candidates include Debra Hayden, Natural Law Party; Erwin Haas and Ernest Whiteside, Libertarian Party; Kevin Carey and Jacob Woods, Green Party; and George Emerson and Gail Graeser, U.S. Taxpayers Party.

The board is charged with appointing the state superintendent of public instruction and overseeing curriculum standards.

WOOD-TV, "Two incumbents take on nine challengers for state school board," Oct. 11, 2006

Michigan Education Report, "State board hires new ed chief," Aug. 16, 2005

Michigan Education Report, "Lansing must embrace basic reform following Watkins debacle," April 11, 2005

SALINE, Mich. — Teachers in the Saline Area Schools agreed to switch from traditional health insurance to a PPO and pay a bigger share of their own prescription drug costs as part of a contract that also includes pay raises, according to The Ann Arbor News.

The 325-member teachers union agreed to a new three-year contract that will increase their salaries 1 percent this year, 3 percent next year and 2 percent in the final year, The News reported. The pay raises are expected to cost the district $1.6 million, while the health insurance savings will net $300,000.

Trustee Art Trapp was the only school board member to vote against the contract, expressing concern that the district's fund balance is below the board-mandated level of 5 percent of its operating costs.

"We have not had a positive year (with revenue over expenses) in the last eight years," Trapp told The News. "One of the things I thought we made pretty clear is we needed to end up with a 5 percent reserve. I didn't see anything that would get us back to 5 percent."

Both sides agreed that the contract could be opened in the third year to revisit changes in health insurance costs and salaries, according to The News.

The Ann Arbor News, "Saline teachers OK contract," Oct. 6, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Escanaba teachers get raises linked to health insurance costs," Oct. 10, 2006

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Decades of Dollars and Disappointment," Oct. 6, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Marquette teachers accept less costly MESSA insurance," Aug. 29, 2006

FLINT, Mich. — Enrollment in the Flint and Saginaw school districts are down twice as much as projected, according to local media.

Flint schools saw enrollment drop 1,800 students compared to September 2005, according to The Flint Journal.

About 16,550 students are enrolled in Flint this year, compared to 18,334 last year. Enrollment was almost 21,000 in 2002 and more than 33,000 in 1980, The Journal reported.

"I'm stunned," Steve Burroughs, president of the United Teachers of Flint, told The Journal.

In Saginaw, enrollment fell by about 800 students, compared to a drop of 400 the district expected, according to WNEM-TV5. Violence was cited by one parent who moved her children to a different district, while Michael Manley, district spokesman, told WNEM that fewer jobs in the area could be part of the reason.

The Flint Journal, "Flint enrollment falls by almost 1,800 students," Oct. 1, 2006

WNEM-TV5 "Saginaw Schools Looses Students and Money"

Michigan Education Digest, "Flint-area charter public schools growing," Sept. 26, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Flint schools prepare for enrollment drop," May 2, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Saginaw schools consider staff layoffs," April 11, 2006

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (, a quarterly newspaper with a circulation of 150,000 published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Ted O'Neil at

To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to