Education

Columbine High School

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a new program to help prevent school violence.

The OK-2-SAY hotline would be available for students, teachers, parents or community members to call and report incidences of violence in schools.

Joanne Spry is the superintendent of Cadillac Area Public Schools. She implemented a similar program when she worked as an administrator in Colorado after the school shootings in Columbine. Spry says students are more likely to report something anonymously.

Terra Molengraff / The Michigan Daily

Undocumented students who’ve grown up in Michigan may soon be eligible for in-state tuition at one of the state’s biggest universities.

On Thursday, the regents at the University of Michigan will vote on a new policy that will redefine what it means to be an in-state student at the university.

Provost Martha Pollock, who took office this May, said the changes being proposed would benefit more than the state’s undocumented students.

From today's press release:

DETROIT (AP) - Supporters of a statewide student safety hotline modeled after a Colorado program established in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre hope to clear a final hurdle once schools resume.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a budget bill this month that includes money to develop and run the OK-2-SAY hotline for anonymous reports of threats and violence. But the green light to launch it requires legislative action by Michigan House after lawmakers return in late August.

user frank juarez / Flickr

Michigan schools got about a 3% boost in funding under the state budget passed last month in Lansing, but a new report says that might not be sustainable.

The non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan says the extra money could be wiped out after next year. 

Bob Schneider is the group's state affairs director.

"Unless we find new revenue growth that isn't anticipated yet, or the state draws upon additional general fund resources, or other resources to bring them into the School Aid Budget, the K-12 schools are looking to potentially have to give back a good chunk of the gains that they've made."

The report projects a budget shortfall of about $240 million for the School Aid Budget in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Schneider says that's partly because of additional state spending commitments to things like teacher retirement and early childhood education.

Courtesy Paul Lee

There has been public outrage ever since a collection of African-American history materials were found in a dumpster outside Highland Park's high school. The ACLU of Michigan was one of the first to report the incident.

pontiac.k12.mi.us / Pontiac School District

Teachers in the struggling Pontiac School District are suing the district after being told their healthcare coverage could get axed.

The teachers who filed the lawsuit are claiming school officials took money designated for their healthcare premiums, and transferred it to the general fund in order to make the district’s finances look better.

Diana Dillaber Murray from The Oakland Press reported:

Chart by Lucy Perkins, and Mark Brush.
Lucy Perkins, Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The financially troubled Buena Vista school district got an emergency loan from the state Wednesday. But the district’s future remains uncertain.

Buena Vista schools borrowed money from the state last year. This was a typical advance that a lot of school districts get in the summer until state aid payments are dispersed in the fall.

The district needs to repay $2 million by August 20.

Courtesy Paul Lee

There has been a firestorm of protest in Highland Park after the discovery that a large collection of history books, film and tapes from the city's high school was tossed in the trash.

Some 50 protestors gathered outside the high school in Highland Park, a member of the school board quit, and several people climbed into dumpsters to retrieve what they could.

The protests focused not only on the discarded books but on the way Highland Park's emergency manager Donald Weatherspoon is running the district.

One of those people who searched through the dumpsters to retrieve as many books as possible is Paul Lee. He is a Highland Park resident and an historian who helped build the collection of black history books, videos and movies.

Here is a video he shot while looking through the dumpster:

MichigansChildren / YouTube

One hundred years ago, the state of Michigan had more than 7,000 local school districts.

There are slightly more than 800 school districts today, and many of them are struggling with their finances.

Today, State Superintendent Michael Flanagan outlined a plan he says would save money.

He wants more school services consolidated at the county level.

State reviewing finances of Hazel Park schools

Jul 7, 2013

Michigan's top educator has ordered a financial review of the Hazel Park schools, a step that could lead to a state takeover of the suburban Detroit district.

The Detroit Free Press says state schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan wrote Hazel Park Superintendent James Meisinger that he's concerned the district's deficit will reach $3.3 million by month's end. That's up from $1.5 million at the end of June 2012.

A report is due Monday.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Congress could act this week to roll back an interest rate hike on a student loan program that many Michigan college students use.

The interest rate doubled for federally subsidized Stafford loans on July 1st.   

The rate went from 3.4% to 6.8%.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the federal government will make a $50 billion profit from the student loan interest rate hike.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan State University's Writing Department is testing out a new way to educate its students and, potentially, the masses.

Professors Julie Lindquist and Jeff Grabill are teaching an experimental online course this summer called "Thinking Like a Writer." It is free and open to the public.

Lindquist is quick to admit the downfalls of online classes. They're often large and impersonal, and relationships between students and instructors can be sacrificed for efficiency.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An alternative school for at-risk kids in Battle Creek has found a new school district to oversee its academic program. .

Marshall Schools was the only district to apply to take over the academic program at the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy.

The alternative school program has operated for 14 years at the National Guard base in Battle Creek. The academy serves about 250 at-risk young people from across Michigan annually.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

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.

Benton Harbor schools narrowly avoided a state appointed emergency manager a couple of years ago.

Superintendent Leonard Seawood says since then, they’ve balanced the budget for two years in a row.

The University of Michigan says a group of U of M students are scheduled to leave Egypt Thursday as unrest continues in that country.   

The eight students were studying at the American University in Cairo when the Egyptian military ousted the government.    They were midway through a two-month cultural program offered through the U-M Center for Global and Intercultural Study, affiliated with the College of Literature Science, and the Arts. 

Other U of M students are scheduled to leave for Jordan and Morocco.

Dwight Burdette / wikimedia commons

Small school districts with big money troubles could be broken up by the state under a new law signed by Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday.

Saginaw County’s Buena Vista and metro Detroit’s Inkster could be the first districts dissolved and folded into their neighbors under the new law, MPRN's Rick Pluta reports.

Governor Snyder says that the review of the districts is proceeding quickly, so students and their families will know where they’re attending classes in the fall.

“We’re talking days, not months,” Snyder said.

user: jdurham / morguefile

Students in the Highland Park School district have been given permission to sue the district, the emergency manager, and the state for not adequately ensuring that they are reading at grade level.

A Wayne County judge today ruled that the so-called "right to read" lawsuit, brought by the ACLU, can move forward. 

DPS

Consider this some free advertising.

Right now, Detroit Public Schools is proposing its most optimistic budget in years:

  • No teacher layoffs
  • The return of after-school programming, at least in some schools
  • Minimal increases in class sizes
  • New parenting resources
  • A little more money for instruction: about $2 million in total 

But it’s all riding on whether the district can lure 5,000 students away from competitors.

That’s a big bet to make.

User: ellenm1 / flickr

You’ll have to pay an additional $900 a year to be a Wayne State student next school year.

The university is raising tuition by 8.9%.

That’s especially tough on a student body that’s almost entirely from in-state.

And it’s a dramatic move for the school.

This year, every other public university in Michigan is playing along with a state deal: schools get access to an extra pool of state money, if they cap tuition hikes at 3.75%.

But that incentive isn’t enough to make up for deeper cuts from the state.   

Sarah Alvarez / Michigan Radio

Last night, Buena Vista School District held meetings to discuss two important issues.

Overall, while the board made decisions for the 2013-2014 school year assuming the school district would open this coming fall, the future of the district depends on whether or not higher ups decide to dissolve the struggling school system.

First, the board made decisions on the school district’s budget and layoffs.

girl on tricycle
Tyler Wainright / Flickr

Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project is closing in on its first birthday!

Photo courtesy of Jacquise Purifoy

The latest Kids Count data show that roughly 11,000 teens gave birth in Michigan in 2010. Statistically speaking, teen parents are more likely to drop out of high school, and their children are more likely to wind up in prison. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint school board members last night approved a budget for next year.

The district’s superintendent says Flint schools may be close to reaching bottom with its new budget.

Flint schools have been struggling with a declining student enrollment and budget problems for years.

The budget approved last night includes closing four schools and laying off around 150 employees.

Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins says more cuts may be needed, if enrollment slides even further.

Nancy Nall Derringer / LinkedIn

Governor Snyder’s school reform agenda includes rewarding schools for so called best practices.

Those include providing physical education, offering online instructional programs or blended learning opportunities, or being a school of choice. Districts meeting seven out of eight of those best practices are eligible to receive 52 additional dollars per pupil in the district.

user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

We've heard about the tuition increases for other public universities in Michigan.

Tomorrow, the board of regents for Wayne State University will vote on that school's increase.

David Jesse over at the Detroit Free Press reports it could be a big one:

Ypsilanti Community Schools

Ypsilanti’s school district is pushing for a districtwide scholarship program that will provide tuition funds to its graduates.

On Monday, Ypsilanti Community Schools officially opened its doors. YCS is the product of school consolidation in Washtenaw County. Earlier this year, voters approved the combination of the financially troubled Ypsilanti Public School district and Willow Run Community Schools.

With a new mascot selected and a logo finalized, the merged district is beginning to rebrand its image.

School supporters hope a new scholarship program that would provide funding for community college tuition for all qualifying students will be a big part of that new image.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

With a little luck and another loan from the state, Muskegon Heights Public Schools’ Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon is predicting the district will pay of its debt the year 2041.

Don Weatherspoon told a small crowd gathered in the high school auditorium Monday night he hopes to hand local control back to the district’s elected school board in one year.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Education released overall standardized test results for Michigan's high school students this morning.

Test results for all subjects in the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) were down slightly when compared to last year. ACT results showed a mix bag when compared to last year's results.

When looking back over the last four years, officials at the Michigan Department of Education say the test results show an "upward trend in student proficiency on both the 2013 Michigan Merit Examination (MME) and ACT college entrance exam."

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Muskegon Heights Public  Schools had nearly a $12 million deficit at the end of last school year. That's when the district’s newly appointed Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon said the district couldn't afford to open school in the fall. He laid off most all the staff and hired charter school company Mosaica Education to run the schools for five years.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents set the 2013-2014 tuition price yesterday afternoon -

  • a 1.1% increase for in-state students, and a 3.2% increase for out of state students

And Michigan State University's regents set their increase this morning

  • a 2.8% tuition rate increase

The two joined six other state universities in the state that have set their sticker prices for the coming academic year.

This year, regents for all the public universities in Michigan will be seeing a slight increase in state funding.

In a recently passed higher education budget, the state’s legislators afforded $31.1 million towards Michigan’s public colleges and universities — a 1.8% increase from 2012.

Still, in the face of a continued decrease in higher education funding (Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2011 budget called for a 15% decrease in state appropriations to colleges), balancing affordable tuition and sufficient revenue is more and more challenging for universities.

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