Chelsea Hagger http://michiganradio.org en Plan to lift cap on charter schools stalls in Michigan House http://michiganradio.org/post/plan-lift-cap-charter-schools-stalls-michigan-house <p>Momentum for a proposal to allow more university-sponsored charter schools in Michigan appears to have slowed in the state Legislature.</p><p>Some lawmakers and schools lobbyists said that&rsquo;s because the measure does not require charter schools to prove their success.</p><p>Democratic state Representative Lisa Brown said the measure should include a requirement that charter schools meet performance standards before opening in Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m for quality education and every child should have a right to high quality education. There&rsquo;s nothing in this bill that provides that,&rdquo; said Brown.</p><p>Ari Adler, a spokesman for state House Speaker Jase Bolger, disagreed. Adler said the majority of charter schools in Michigan have long waiting lists for student enrollment. And he said that&rsquo;s a reflection of high performance.</p><p>&ldquo;So obviously they&rsquo;re doing something right or parents wouldn&rsquo;t be lining up to take their kids there,&quot; said Adler. &quot;But we are going to be looking at -- this year and well into next year -- quality education in Michigan and how that quality can be improved. And that would be at charter public schools, traditional public schools and all forms of education.&quot;</p><p>Opponents of eliminating the state&rsquo;s charter school cap say a third of existing charters have poor performance records.</p><p>It&rsquo;s unclear if the charter school bill will be approved before the end of the year. Fri, 09 Dec 2011 22:01:55 +0000 Chelsea Hagger 5327 at http://michiganradio.org Plan to lift cap on charter schools stalls in Michigan House Getting rid of Michigan's "driver responsibility" fee http://michiganradio.org/post/getting-rid-michigans-driver-responsibility-fee <p>An unpopular state fee that penalizes drivers with multiple moving violations could soon be eliminated. A proposal approved by the state Senate today would eliminate part of the so-called &ldquo;driver responsibility&rdquo; fee.</p><p>The annual fee is assessed for drivers with seven or more points on their licenses. The bill would end the fees for minor traffic violations, such as driving with an expired license.</p><p>Senator Bruce Caswell sponsored the bill. He said he&rsquo;d like to see the fee eliminated completely, but the state cannot afford to cut the program entirely right now.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a budget process and we&rsquo;re losing money, and we have to figure the amount we take away each year based upon what the budget can afford,&rdquo; Caswell said. &ldquo;And monies are tight so we eliminated as much of it as we could and the constraints of what we feel the monies are that we&rsquo;ll have available.&rdquo;</p><p>State Senator Burt Johnson said other states have already gotten rid of similar fees. He said he hopes to see the fees eliminated completely by the end of next year.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of us here including the governor agree that the driver&rsquo;s responsibility fee and the entire code was ill-conceived and it was wrong to put a tax, put that kind of fundraising burden on tax payers,&rdquo; said Johnson. &ldquo;And it really amounts to debtor&rsquo;s prison so I think everybody wants to see the entire code stricken.&rdquo;</p><p>The measure has been sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature. Thu, 01 Dec 2011 22:25:43 +0000 Chelsea Hagger 5216 at http://michiganradio.org Getting rid of Michigan's "driver responsibility" fee Michigan Dems introduce ban on for-profit schools http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-dems-introduce-ban-profit-schools <p>Democrats at the state Capitol are calling for an amendment to the Michigan constitution that would outlaw for-profit schools. Four out of five charter schools in Michigan currently operate as for-profit schools.</p><p>Democratic state Senator Rebekah Warren said only 17 percent of charter schools out-perform traditional public schools. She said school aid money should not go toward profits for businesses.</p><p>Warren said her amendment would not ban charter schools, but it would reform how they operate.</p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 21:00:51 +0000 Chelsea Hagger 5175 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan Dems introduce ban on for-profit schools State lawmakers try to reduce driver responsibility fees http://michiganradio.org/post/state-lawmakers-try-reduce-driver-responsibility-fees <p>The additional annual fees Michigan driver&rsquo;s pay if they have seven or more points on their license may soon be reduced. The state House is expected to vote this week on proposed changes to the unpopular driver responsibility fee.</p><p>The state currently collects about $120 million every year from drivers with at least seven points on their records. State House spokesman Ari Adler said that&rsquo;s too much money to simply cut from the state budget.</p><p>&ldquo;We looked at doing this in a little bit more of an incremental approach without taking so much money out of the budget all at once,&rdquo; Adler said. &ldquo;The long term goal is to try to reduce or eliminate these driver responsibility fees but the reality is that there is a good chunk of the budget that is predicated on these fees and penalties.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Bruce Caswell agreed the state cannot afford to completely eliminate that amount of money from the budget right now but he said the fee is unfair to drivers who have already paid their fines.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;These later bills coming, I don&rsquo;t care what the charge is, are inappropriate I believe and shouldn&rsquo;t be done. So my hope eventually is to get rid of this thing &nbsp; entirely,&rdquo; said Caswell.</p><p>Drivers with seven or more points on their license are assessed the annual fee in addition to the cost of their ticket. The proposal would omit or reduce the fee for minor infractions, but major traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, would still be assessed the annual fee. Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:54:36 +0000 Chelsea Hagger 4862 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan Senate passes missing children bill http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-senate-passes-missing-children-bill <p>A proposal that would require parents to report missing children immediately to authorities was approved by the state Senate today.</p><p>The bill was named &ldquo;Caylee&rsquo;s Law&rdquo; by supporters, in response to the controversial Casey Anthony case in Florida.</p><p>The child&rsquo;s mother waited 31 days before reporting her daughter missing.</p><p>State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says he was surprised to learn Michigan does not have an early-reporting law in place for missing children.</p><p><em>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very important that parents report their children missing in a timely fashion. The outrageous case that drew this to our attention was the one of little Caylee, that the mother didn&rsquo;t report her missing for over 30 days.&quot;</em></p><p>Jones added:</p><p><em>&ldquo;As a former sheriff of Eaton County and 31 years of law enforcement, I don&rsquo;t believe there is any reason for a parent to delay reporting their child missing.&rdquo;</em></p><p>Under the bill, parents or caretakers would have 24 hours to report missing children under the age of 13 or could face up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.</p><p>The bill has been sent to the state House. Tue, 25 Oct 2011 21:01:02 +0000 Chelsea Hagger 4691 at http://michiganradio.org