Contents of this issue:
  • Detroit Public Schools to lay off 555 teachers
  • Midland Public Schools considers contracting for custodial work
  • Royal Oak teachers protest at board meeting, want to keep MESSA
  • Goodrich schools to expand Schools of Choice program
  • Win an iPod; Map: Does your district competitively contract?
  • Hillsdale offering free seminar for teachers

DETROIT — The Detroit Public Schools has sent layoff notices to 555 teachers, according to The Detroit News.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Virginia Cantrell told The News that a district often distributes more notices than needed.

"Based on the information we have seen, we believe most of the layoffs will be rescinded before they take effect," Cantrell wrote in a statement.

The number of teachers who lose their jobs my also decline because between 300 and 400 teachers are planning to retire at the end of this year, The News reported.

The Detroit News, "Detroit Public Schools sends layoff notices to 555 teachers," April 27, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Detroit schools could lay off 430," Oct. 24, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Detroit teachers union wants more money," June 27, 2006

Michigan Education Digest, "Study: Detroit graduation rate worst in the nation," June 27, 2006

MIDLAND, Mich. — The Midland Public Schools could save between $700,000 and $900,000 in the first year, and about $2.6 million over three years, if it chooses to competitively contract for custodial services, according to the Midland Daily News.

Midland needs to cut $5 million to balance next year's budget and has decided that if it is going to contract its custodial services, it will hire Grand Rapids Building Services.

The Midland City Educational Support Personnel Association protested at a recent school board meeting, expressing concern about health and retirement packages as well as making claims about potential safety risks associated with hiring a competitive company.

"I hope the board of education will hear the voice of this community," said Fred Baker, a spokesman for the Michigan Education Association, which is headquartered in East Lansing. "We want to maintain our local control and local accountability."

GRBS Vice-President Karin Wysocki cleared up many concerns by explaining that the company puts an emphasis on hiring locally, offers a health package and makes its job applicants go through an intensive screening, according to the Daily News. The company also refuses to hire anyone with a felony or misdemeanor record other than a traffic violation, the Daily News reported.

Wysocki also stated that her employees are trained to do many of the popular jobs done by current custodial staff, like setting up tables, adjusting chairs and walking teachers to their cars.

Midland has recently sent lay off notices to 21 teachers, reduced the schedules of eight others and eliminated the media specialist positions in the district, according to the Daily News.

The board will vote on contracting for food and custodial services at its May 14 meeting, the Daily News reported.

Midland Daily News, "Midland school outsourcing decision nears," April 24, 2007 PAG=461&dept_id=472542&rfi=6

Midland Daily News, "Midland schools announce 21 teachers laid off, 8 have duties reduced," April 25, 2007 dept_id=578054&rfi=8

Midland Daily News, "MPS media specialist positions to be cut," April 25, 2007

Michigan Education Report, "Do private employees in public schools provide the same quality of service as public employees in public schools? Yes," Feb. 23, 2007

Michigan Education Report, "Profit has a role in public schools," Feb. 23, 2007

Michigan Education Report, "Map: School contracting continues to grow," Feb. 23, 2007

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — Members of the Royal Oak teachers union protested the district's proposed health insurance changes at a recent board meeting, according to the Royal Oak Daily Tribune.

The Royal Oak board of education has stated that it will allow teachers to keep health coverage purchased from the Michigan Education Special Services Association, a third-party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association school employee union, if teachers contribute $2,500 per year towards their own insurance. District officials are looking to control benefit costs. Superintendent Thomas Moline reports that MESSA costs $15,500 per teacher with family coverage, while the average insurance cost in the Detroit area is $11,900 per employee, the Daily Tribune reported.

"All they need to do is give a concession on insurance and we're done," Moline said, according to the Daily Tribune. "They can have it; they just have to help us pay for it."

Royal Oak Daily Tribune, "Teachers rally for contract," April 27, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Howell board stands behind decision to leave MESSA," March 20, 2007

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Collective Bargaining Primer For Michigan School Board Members," Feb. 28, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Howell custodians abandon MESSA," Sept. 5, 2006

Michigan Education Report, "Growing number of districts seek solutions to costly health insurance," Dec. 15, 2005

GOODRICH, Mich. — The Goodrich board of education voted 4-3 to approve a limited Schools of Choice plan that would open enrollment to 21 students from outside Genesee County in a effort to bring more revenue in to the district, according to The Flint Journal.

The district will continue to allow another 21 students from other districts inside the county to enroll each school year.

"This is the only way we can get revenue," board member James Bertrand told The Journal. "The other option is to cut costs."

Board member Michael J. Thorp questioned how much the district will gain from bringing these students into the schools because their families will not pay any district or intermediate school district taxes.

The Flint Journal, "School board votes to accept out-of-county students," April 24, 2007

Michigan Education Digest, "Thousands of parents exercise limited school choice rights," July 5, 2006

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Case for Choice in Schooling: Restoring Parental Control of Education," Jan. 29, 2001

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School Choice on Public School Districts," July 24, 2000


MIDLAND, Mich. — The spring issue of Michigan Education Report offers a map illustrating which districts have taken advantage of competitive contracting. It can be accessed here:

Michigan Education Report is offering readers a chance to win an iPod when they comment on articles in its spring 2007 issue.

Comments can be made via e-mail about stories on the U.S. House Fellows program (, school district health benefits savings (, whether private employees in public schools provide the same quality of service as public employees in public schools ( and, a community college cooperating with home-school students ( and the role of profit in public schools ( Please visit for more information.

HILLSDALE, Mich. — Economics, social studies, civics and history teachers are invited to participate in a free summer seminar July 15-21 as part of the Foundation for Teaching Economics program, "Economics for Leaders." The seminar takes place on the campus of Hillsdale College and will be led by Dr. Gary Wolfram, Munson Professor of Political Economy at the school. The program is based on the National Voluntary Standards in Economic Education. Room and board is free, and each participant will receive a $150 stipend. Credit hours are available, and three SBCEUs are free of charge for Michigan public school teachers.

Visit for more information, or call 800-383-4335.

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

Contact Managing Editor Sarah Grether at

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