Contents of this issue:
  • House approves K-12 funding
  • Magnet school test fee questioned
  • Homeschooling gains popularity in Lenawee County
  • DPS could cut 800 teachers
  • New Catholic high school to open in Detroit

LANSING, Mich. — The state House of Representatives approved a K-12 budget that would allocate between $55 and $110 more per-pupil for the 2008-2009 school year, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

The House approved the measure 61-48, but will have to work out a compromise with the Senate, whose proposal would allocate additional funds ranging from $71 to $142 per-pupil. Districts with the lowest per-pupil allowance would receive the larger increases, The Press reported.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Michigan House approves K-12 education spending," June 11, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007

SAGINAW, Mich. — A magnet school run by the Saginaw School District is facing opposition over a fee it charges prospective students for an entrance exam, according to The Saginaw News.

Handley Elementary School charges $25 for the test, The News reported. A 1970 Michigan Supreme Court decision, however, forbids public school districts from charging for courses or internal tests. Schools can charge for external tests, such as the ACT or SAT.

"Our fee is a screening fee for the external test taken by the student," Safiya Mosley, district spokeswoman, told The News. "It's an assessment of ability and achievement, and we have never had an issue with someone not being able to pay. But if we did, we would work with them."

Martin Ackley, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, disagrees.

"Even though we can't give school districts legal advice, it could be argued or construed that this admissions fee for this test is an internal test and the school probably would not be able to charge for this," Ackley told The News.

The Saginaw News, "State, magnet school leaders weigh in on Handley Elementary School admissions test fee," June 16, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Limited Educational Choice (Intra-District Choice, Inter-District Choice, and Charter Schools)," in "The Case for Choice in Schooling," Jan. 29, 2001

ADRIAN, Mich. — Homeschooling is on the rise across the country, and Lenawee County is following suit, according to the Adrian Daily Telegram.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates as many as 2 million children are home-schooled nationally, up from 1.1 million five years ago. Rachel Huff, of Onsted, told the Daily Telegram the group she founded, Homeschooling Our Children, has grown by 20 members in the past year. LIFE, Lenawee Involved in Family Education, has had 125 families join over the past decade.

"In Lenawee County, over the last four years, there have opened wonderful opportunities for home-school families," Huff told the Daily Telegram. "Not only have there been more and more home-school support groups, but also more co-op classes, music classes, drama classes, sports and even speech is offered to home-school families in Lenawee County."

Adrian Daily Telegram, "Homeschooling a growing trend," June 14, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Fifteen years later, home-school parents say legal battle was worth it," May 27, 2008

DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools could lay off about 800 teachers as it faces a nearly $300 million overspending crisis for fiscal 2009, according to The Detroit News.

The district is still trying to correct a $63 million overspending problem in the current $1.2 billion budget, The News reported. The district's state aid will drop about $90 million next year as 12,000 students assigned to DPS chose to attend school elsewhere during the 2007-2008 school year.

"I think the notion of cutting 800 teachers is completely ridiculous," Keith Johnson, a teacher at Finney High School, told The News. Johnson is running for president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers union, which has about 8,000 members.

The Detroit News, "In the red, DPS may cut 800 teachers," June 13, 2008 806130371

Michigan Education Digest, "DPS loses 12,000 students, $90 million in revenue," April 22, 2008

DETROIT, Mich. — When the freshman class at Detroit Cristo Rey High School gathers for the first time this fall, students will be allowed to choose their own school mascot.

Principal Susan A. Rowe wouldn't mind if they voted for the phoenix, an "up-from-the-ashes" image that she uses herself to describe this new foray into Catholic education in Detroit.

"How many people get a chance to start a school, right from the beginning? I'm really excited. You're bringing life to something," the longtime Catholic educator said.

After several years of research and groundwork, Detroit Cristo Rey will open in August in the center of Detroit's Mexicantown community. The school will combine a college preparatory curriculum with a work-study program that essentially allows students to gain on-the-job experience while also paying off about 70 percent of their tuition. It will join 19 other high schools in the national Cristo Rey Network, which focuses exclusively on low-income students in inner cities.

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit Cristo Rey: A new option in Catholic education," June 17, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit area Catholic schools look to the future," Nov. 21, 2006

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (, an online newspaper 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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