school funding http://michiganradio.org en Public can tell state review team what they think about Benton Harbor schools’ finances tonight http://michiganradio.org/post/public-can-tell-state-review-team-what-they-think-about-benton-harbor-schools-finances-tonight <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A state review team is hosting a public meeting today in Benton Harbor. The six-member team is trying to determine if Benton Harbor Area Schools is in financial stress.</span></p><p>The Benton Harbor school district has been running a deficit since 2006. It's cut costs, but at the same time, it also has low-performing schools that need to improve test scores to meet state and federal standards. Plus, it’s lost students every year.</p><p>It’s already closed buildings, privatized support services and gotten concessions in wages and benefits from teachers.</p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:49:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18391 at http://michiganradio.org Public can tell state review team what they think about Benton Harbor schools’ finances tonight For school featured in "The Education Gap," some victories and more challenges http://michiganradio.org/post/school-featured-education-gap-some-victories-and-more-challenges <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At the beginning of the school year, Jennifer Guerra spent a lot of time at two different schools for her documentary,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/education-gap-transcript-and-audio" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank"><em>The Education Gap.</em></a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;One of the schools had plenty of resources, the other did not.</span></p><p>Jen went back to the school where poverty is a real struggle for nearly all of the students. There have been some changes since she last visited. For example, school officials&nbsp;now say its OK for us to identify the school on&nbsp;air (<span style="line-height: 1.5;">we refer to the school as School X in the documentary.)&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's Myers Elementary in Taylor. But whether it's referred to as School X or Myers, the&nbsp;school is still caught in the nexus of having few tools to deal with some of society's most complicated problems.&nbsp;</span></p><div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">But there have been several smaller, more personal victories. T<span style="line-height: 1.5;">he principal has convinced some kids that college is an option they can and should be serious about. And some of the kids hungry for more challenging academics have gotten more attention.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Read and listen to what difference a year makes at&nbsp;<a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/they-come-and-go-its-noisy-these-5th-graders-still-picked-some-big-lessons" target="_blank">State of Opportunity</a>.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">&nbsp;</p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 19:08:35 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 17954 at http://michiganradio.org For school featured in "The Education Gap," some victories and more challenges Michigan schools’ finances “stabilizing,” says state superintendent http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-schools-finances-stabilizing-says-state-superintendent <p>Late last year, the state’s top education official had dire predictions for the finances of Michigan schools. He predicted the number of districts in deficit could reach 100 “before long.”</p><p></p><p>Now, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the situation is stabilizing, and he credits increased funding from the state.</p><p></p><p>“Debates aside about how much of an increase there is – there’s been improved funding the last couple years,” said Flanagan. “I think there could be more. But I think that’s helped.”</p><p></p><p>Flanagan gave his latest regular update to the state Legislature Thursday on school districts with budget deficits. He says the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) expects the number of deficit districts to have dropped from 52 to 45 over the course of this school year.</p><p></p><p>Flanagan says the state’s sluggish economy in recent years has made it difficult to help schools get their books in order.</p><p></p><p>“Now we’re coming out of it,” he said, “and we need to continue to invest in our kids. And I appreciate the start that this legislature and governor have made. I do think we can and will do more in the future.”</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Flanagan is urging state lawmakers to create an “early warning system” for schools facing financial emergencies. Legislation in the state Senate would also make it easier for the state to assign an emergency manager if a district violates a deficit elimination plan.</span></p><p></p><p>Democrats say it’s not fair to say Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature have increased state education funding. Republicans include money that went into the teacher pension system.</p><p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 22:04:35 +0000 Jake Neher 17890 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan schools’ finances “stabilizing,” says state superintendent State Board of Education tries to make school funding a central election issue http://michiganradio.org/post/state-board-education-tries-make-school-funding-central-election-issue <p>The Michigan State Board of Education hopes public school funding will be a top priority for voters when they head to the polls in November.</p><p></p><p>The board on Tuesday kicked off a series of discussions meant to publicly critique the way the state pays for public education. The talks will continue at its monthly meetings until November.</p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 23:30:50 +0000 Jake Neher 16405 at http://michiganradio.org State Board of Education tries to make school funding a central election issue What kind of education do you get if you spend $12,000 per student? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-kind-education-do-you-get-if-you-spend-12000-student <p>Our <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/">State of Opportunity team</a> has been diving into the issue school funding over the past couple months.</p><p>The vast majority of Michigan K-12 schools get between <a href="http://www.msbo.org/sites/default/files/schaid14_hfa_omnibussummary.pdf">$7,000 - $8,000 per pupil</a> every year. But there are some schools that get more…a lot more. We're talking about roughly a $5,000 difference between the richest schools in the state and the poorest schools.</p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:49:09 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 15160 at http://michiganradio.org What kind of education do you get if you spend $12,000 per student? Benton Harbor student population down 45% in a decade, schools work to reverse decline http://michiganradio.org/post/benton-harbor-student-population-down-45-decade-schools-work-reverse-decline <p>Benton Harbor Area Schools is already campaigning to get students enrolled in the fall. That’s because the district hopes to dig out of a major budget deficit by attracting more students.</p><p>Benton Harbor schools narrowly avoided a state appointed emergency manager a couple of years ago.</p><p>Superintendent Leonard Seawood says since then, they’ve balanced the budget for two years in a row.</p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 15:13:50 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13389 at http://michiganradio.org Benton Harbor student population down 45% in a decade, schools work to reverse decline Lansing school board approves a lean budget for the upcoming school year http://michiganradio.org/post/lansing-school-board-approves-lean-budget-upcoming-school-year <p>The Lansing school board last night approved the district's budget for next year.</p><p></p><p>The $142 million spending plan is $25 million smaller than the current year budget. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The district is tightening its belt, including laying off between 90 and 100 employees.</p><p></p><p>Yvonne Caamal Canul is Lansing’s school superintendent. She describes the budget plan as setting a baseline for the district, one the district can grow from in the future.</p><p></p><p>Right now, it’s about preparing for this fall.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 02:22:56 +0000 Steve Carmody 13176 at http://michiganradio.org Lansing school board approves a lean budget for the upcoming school year Stateside for Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 http://michiganradio.org/post/stateside-tuesday-may-21st-2013 <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It took an intense campaign in Michigan in 2008 to get voters to approve proposal 2, allowing embryonic stem-cell research.</span></p><p>On today's show we talk to a neurologist leading the nation’s first clinical trial of stem cell injections in patients with the deadly degenerative disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.</p><p>And, there is no shortage of articles, quotes, and news stories telling us what politicians, business titans and other leaders think of Michigan and its future.</p><p>But what about what tomorrow’s leaders think?</p><p> Tue, 21 May 2013 20:54:44 +0000 Stateside Staff 12666 at http://michiganradio.org Stateside for Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 New unified school district superintendent in Ypsilanti speaks http://michiganradio.org/post/new-unified-school-district-superintendent-ypsilanti-speaks <p>The litany of school districts in serious money trouble <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/15-michigan-schools-running-biggest-deficits?nopop=1">is long and growing longer</a>: Buena Vista, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Pontiac, Albion.</p><p>Now we hear that Hazel Park schools are broke, according to the Superintendent, who blames an "unexpected drop" in student enrollment.</p><p>Close to fifty public school districts across our state are facing deep deficits. <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/term/buena-vista-school-district">Buena Vista actually closed</a> down for two weeks while scrambling to find enough money to keep things running.</p><p>Other districts have implemented layoffs and program cuts.</p><p>Desperate times call for desperate measures. And some say Michigan has too many school districts, and that consolidating some of these districts is a prudent choice.</p><p>Last year, the state encouraged Ypsilanti and nearby Willow Run schools to consolidate.</p><p>After tough decisions regarding layoffs, staff restructuring and closing buildings, the consolidation will happen July 1.</p><p>Scott Menzel is the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and, come July 1, he will be the superintendent of the new unified district: Ypsilanti Community Schools.</p><p>He joined us today in the studio.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em> Tue, 21 May 2013 20:44:35 +0000 Stateside Staff 12669 at http://michiganradio.org New unified school district superintendent in Ypsilanti speaks Budget deficit forcing school officials to close Albion High School http://michiganradio.org/post/budget-deficit-forcing-school-officials-close-albion-high-school <p>The Albion School Board voted last night to close the district’s high school.</p><p></p><p>Beginning this fall, the mid-Michigan district will only serve students in grades K through eight.</p><p></p><p></p><p>Some students cried.&nbsp; Others just shook their heads, after the school board voted 5 to 1, with one abstention, to close Albion High School.</p><p></p><p>School board members said repeatedly they didn’t want to close the school, but a projected million dollar budget deficit could not be ignored.</p><p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 05:01:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 12572 at http://michiganradio.org Budget deficit forcing school officials to close Albion High School Former charter school director gets probation for lying about student enrollment http://michiganradio.org/post/former-charter-school-director-gets-probation-lying-about-student-enrollment <p>A charter school in Muskegon County will have to repay the state close to $30,000 that, technically, the school shouldn’t have gotten in the first place.</p><p>The more students a school has the more money it receives from the state.</p><p>Barbara Stellard, who directed Waypoint Academy from 2002 to 2010, was charged in October with multiple criminal charges for reporting more students than actually attended the charter school.</p><p>Michigan Attorney General’s office spokeswoman Joy Yearout says another employee at Waypoint told tipped the state off to the scam.</p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 19:34:57 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11679 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools sends out first round of pink slips in “transformation plan” http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-sends-out-first-round-pink-slips-transformation-plan <p>About 200 administrators at Grand Rapids Public Schools are getting notice that they could potentially be laid off this summer. The school board voted Monday night to send out the notices, as part of a “<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/stateside-grand-rapids-restructures-its-districts-save-money-improve-education">transformation plan</a>” it adopted in December.</p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 17:50:37 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11098 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids schools sends out first round of pink slips in “transformation plan” Private donors pay for new public school building at Grand Rapids nature preserve http://michiganradio.org/post/private-donors-pay-new-public-school-building-grand-rapids-nature-preserve <p>Walk up to the new school inside the Blandford Nature Center and a flock of brown hens will quietly greet you. The hens are part of a business lesson about entrepreneurs at the Blandford School.</p><p>On Monday students and staff gathered to open the new school building paid for through mostly private funds.</p><p>Jennifer Brandstatter wipes tears from her cheek during the&nbsp;celebration. She moved her oldest of two daughters from a Catholic school to attend&nbsp; 6th grade at Blandford and she “loves it”.</p><p>“I just, I cry when I think about it. It’ just she’s having the best time of her life. The teachers are amazing. I mean it’s just such a unique experience,” Brandstatter explained. Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:15:13 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10650 at http://michiganradio.org Private donors pay for new public school building at Grand Rapids nature preserve Grand Rapids students and neighbors push back on new “transformation plan” for schools http://michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-students-and-neighbors-push-back-new-transformation-plan-schools <p>On Thursday night hundreds of parents and students got their first chance to respond to a <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/new-superintendent-works-unite-grand-rapids-schools%E2%80%99-community">"transformation plan"</a> for the Grand Rapids Public School district. The plan <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/grand-rapids-schools-unveils-transformation-plan-includes-closing-10-schools">unveiled Monday&nbsp;</a>includes closing ten schools.</p><p>There was a lot of push back, even tears at times in the auditorium at Creston High School; the only high school slated to be shut down.</p><p>“Honestly, it feels like the board is giving up on us,” Creston High School freshman Toni Cortazar said. Fri, 02 Nov 2012 04:09:21 +0000 Lindsey Smith 9746 at http://michiganradio.org Grand Rapids students and neighbors push back on new “transformation plan” for schools Superintendent: School funding reform should include early childhood, college http://michiganradio.org/post/superintendent-school-funding-reform-should-include-early-childhood-college <p>The state&rsquo;s education chief says money for early childhood education and community colleges needs to be part of fixing Michigan&rsquo;s school funding system. Mike Flanagan is the Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction and leads the state Department of Education.<br /><br />He spoke today at the first public hearing held by Governor Rick Snyder&rsquo;s workgroup that&rsquo;s devising a school funding proposal. The governor wants a system that rewards proficiency.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Flanagan says that won&rsquo;t happen if the state doesn&rsquo;t find a way to offer universal early childhood learning.<br /><br />&quot;We spend a billion dollars per grade and we spend nothing on early childhood, and we wonder why the results are exactly the same, and we blame the teachers, we blame the state superintendent, we blame the parent for not reading to them enough, and the bottom line is, we should blame the system first and foremost,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Flanagan says every student should also be guaranteed a year or two of community college or its equivalent. &nbsp;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />The school funding workgroup will spend the summer working on its recommendations. Tue, 17 Jul 2012 18:24:51 +0000 Rick Pluta 8311 at http://michiganradio.org Superintendent: School funding reform should include early childhood, college School funding overhaul could be on the way http://michiganradio.org/post/school-funding-overhaul-could-be-way <p>An overhaul of how Michigan pays for public schools could be on the way. Gov. Rick Snyder wants that to be a big part of his budget proposal in early 2013.&nbsp; The governor has named Lansing attorney Richard McLellan to lead the process.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />McLellan says the state&rsquo;s funding system is overdue for a shakeup.<br /> Mon, 16 Jul 2012 20:19:49 +0000 Rick Pluta 8296 at http://michiganradio.org School funding overhaul could be on the way In this morning's news... http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-266 <p><strong>Romney in Michigan today</strong></p><p>Mitt Romney is making his first visit to Michigan today since he narrowly won the Republican Presidential primary here last February. He&#39;s going to deliver a policy address at Lansing Community College. More from the Michigan Public Radio Network&#39;s Rick Pluta:</p><blockquote><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 0px; ">Romney&rsquo;s expected to focus on the economy in his speech, and suggest President Obama&rsquo;s policies have slowed the pace of the nation&rsquo;s, and Michigan&rsquo;s, economic recovery.</p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 0px; ">The appearance certainly suggests the Romney campaign considers Michigan an attainable prize. Michigan has not gone for the Republican presidential nominee since 1988.</p></blockquote><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 20px; margin-left: 0px; ">Yesterday, Romney gave a speech in Ohio in which <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/07/romney-taking-credit-for-auto-industry-success/">he took credit for the revival of the auto industry</a>.</p><p><strong>Rethinking Detroit&#39;s neighborhoods</strong></p><p>The Detroit Works project is the name of Mayor Bing&#39;s revitalization&nbsp;plan. The <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20120508/BUSINESS06/205080378/Bing-team-is-closing-in-on-Detroit-Works-plan">Detroit Free Press</a> reports the team is getting closer to putting forward a set of recommendations for the city. The recommendations could include urban farms, gardens, and reforestation in parts of a city with <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/detroit-has-tons-vacant-land-forty-square-miles?nopop=1">a little more than 20 square miles of vacant land</a>:</p><blockquote><p>The team is expected to produce a final report by late summer, offering options for residents and civic leaders to consider rather than strict recommendations about what should happen where.<br /><br />&quot;There is room for a broad spectrum of interventions to be played out,&quot; said Toni Griffin, a City College of New York professor of urban planning who co-chairs the Detroit Works technical team developing the list of options.<br /><br />Karla Henderson, Bing&#39;s group&nbsp;executive&nbsp;for planning and facilities, said the mayor and his aides are looking forward to receiving the report from the planning team.</p></blockquote><p><strong>Michigan voters head to the polls today</strong></p><p>Voters will head to the polls today to decide a variety of issues for their communities. Many communities will decide whether or not to tax themselves more to pay for school improvements, or, as <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-voters-decide-many-issues-tuesdays-ballot">Michigan Radio&#39;s Steve Carmody&nbsp;reported</a>, to help pay for a &quot;sludge dryer&quot;:</p><blockquote><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 15px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">Not everything on the ballots involves schools.&nbsp;The issue in Delhi Township, near Lansing, is sludge. Or more accurately, what to do with it.&nbsp;The township is asking voters to approve a surcharge on their water bills to pay for a sludge dryer. &nbsp;&nbsp;Supporters say the dryer would turn human waste into bio-fuel. Opponents say it&rsquo;s just a waste of money.</p></blockquote><p> Tue, 08 May 2012 12:38:26 +0000 Mark Brush 7376 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news... Parents question lawmakers on cyber and charter schools, funding changes http://michiganradio.org/post/parents-question-lawmakers-cyber-and-charter-schools-funding-changes <p>Five state lawmakers took tough questions from parents in East Grand Rapids Wednesday night. The legislative committee&nbsp;of the schools&#39; PTA&nbsp;hosted the lawmakers; four republicans and one democrat.&nbsp;Hot issues included a proposed bill on cyber schools and the governor&rsquo;s proposed k-12 budget for next school year.</p><p><strong>Cyber&nbsp;charter schools</strong></p><p>Last year Michigan <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/governor-snyder-signs-law-removing-cap-michigan-charter-schools">lifted the cap on how many charter schools</a> public universities can&nbsp;run. Now, there&rsquo;s&nbsp;a bill <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(rspby055mt3qsb45creq55mf))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&amp;objectname=2011-SB-0619">proposed that would&nbsp;allow more cyber charter schools </a>to operate.</p><p>Many parents asked the lawmakers why cyber schools get the same amount of state money per child as brick and morter ones. State Representative Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) said cyber schools shouldn&rsquo;t get as much, saying the savings should be passed on to the taxpayers. Cyber charters can be run by national&nbsp;for-profit companies.</p><p>Tina Murua has two kids enrolled in East Grand Rapids schools. &ldquo;I fear that they&rsquo;ve couched the whole thing in terms of parental choice because&hellip;who can argue with that? It&rsquo;s a brilliant strategy but it was a false choice,&rdquo; Murua said. She worries companies are pushing states to allow more cyber schools just to make money. &nbsp;</p><p>The state senate already approved the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billengrossed/Senate/pdf/2011-SEBS-0619.pdf">cyber charter&nbsp;school bill.</a> It passed the State House Education&nbsp;Committee&nbsp;in late February. Thu, 08 Mar 2012 06:30:46 +0000 Lindsey Smith 6552 at http://michiganradio.org Parents question lawmakers on cyber and charter schools, funding changes Collaboration calling on lawmakers for more education dollars http://michiganradio.org/post/collaboration-calling-lawmakers-more-education-dollars <p>A statewide group launched a campaign Thursday demanding state lawmakers invest more money in public education.</p><p>Victoria Kovari is the lead organizer at the Michigan Organizing Collaborative. It&rsquo;s a network of faith-based, community and labor leaders. Kovari says they want lawmakers to significantly reverse the trend of education cuts in Michigan over the past decade.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a statewide problem. It affects rich and poor districts, city and suburban and rural districts all across the state. And it affects the lives of real people; young people and parents and teachers,&rdquo; Kovari said.</p><p>The collaborative is <a href="http://www.michiganorganizing.org/">asking people to sign an online petition </a>to lawmakers. She hopes the request will make a difference as lawmakers craft the state budget over the next few months. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 23:00:29 +0000 Lindsey Smith 6457 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan schools may offer more full day kindergarten this fall http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-schools-may-offer-more-full-day-kindergarten-fall <p>Full day kindergarten may be in store for more Michigan children, due to <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/publicact/pdf/2011-PA-0062.pdf">changes in the school aid budget</a>.</p><p>Schools currently get the same amount of per pupil funding whether they offer half day kindergarten or full day kindergarten. But starting this fall, schools that offer half day kindergarten will see their per pupil funding for those students cut in half.</p><p>The state legislature <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/publicact/pdf/2011-PA-0062.pdf">approved the school budget funding</a> change last year.</p><p>Here are several different school districts&#39; takes on the changes:</p><p><strong>One size does not fit all</strong></p><p>Livingston County&#39;s Brighton Public Schools currently get the full $7,000 per pupil for half day kindergarten students. They&rsquo;ll get $3,500 for half day kindergarten students beginning with the 2012 school year.</p><p>Greg Gary is superintendent for <a href="http://bas.k12.mi.us/">Brighton area schools</a>. He says the drop in funding is going to hurt his budget, but he refuses to cut half day kindergarten from the schedule:</p><p>&quot;Not every kid is going to excel in a full day program. I have two children, and I would have put one in full day kindergarten, and one in half day kindergarten, because kids are different.&quot; Mon, 30 Jan 2012 22:33:44 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 6011 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan schools may offer more full day kindergarten this fall