Posted on 01/26/15 at 10:52am

​It’s not too early to start thinking about NEA’s 17th annual Read Across America Day celebration on March 2. This year’s theme honors the Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” And MEA is providing materials to help you showcase your efforts to promote reading.

Posted on 01/26/15 at 10:58am

With states across the country—including Michigan—debating whether to implement a system that ranks schools on letter grades, a report by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice shows that using an A-F letter-grade ranking is invalid and fails to provide important information about a school’s quality.

Posted on 01/28/15 at 10:26am

When you find yourself in a hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging.

The hole I am referring to is the $1 billion taxpayers spend each year on Michigan’s experiment with charter schools. 

Posted on 01/20/15 at 12:10pm

MEA has secured special pricing for Detroit Pistons games that are not available to the general public. 

Posted on 01/20/15 at 12:12pm

The Library of Michigan (LM) released its 2015 Notable Book List which celebrates Michigan people, places and events.

Posted on 01/12/15 at 12:53pm

Only one in three people in Michigan has an associate’s degree or higher so President Obama’s proposal to provide free community college tuition for the first two years could take away the financial barrier that keeps many students from going to school beyond high school. The plan could save each student an average of $3,800 annually if a student takes advantage of the offer.

Still no full replacement guarantee for personal property repeal

While reforming the personal property tax (SB 1065-1072) is taking a back seat to budget debates, the Senate Tax Policy Committee continues to take testimony.

Legislature can’t agree on how schools can spend limited new monies

Budget season is in full bloom in the Legislature, with votes being held on budget bills moved by various appropriations committees. In most cases, those committees were stingier in their proposals than Gov. Snyder’s $48.2 billion proposed budget.

A budget must be in place by Sept. 30, but legislators plan on beating that deadline by having one in place by June 1.

While both the House and the Senate want to give more money to K-12 districts than the Governor does, they don't agree on how the money should be spent. Under the Senate proposal, richer districts would get $100 more per pupil and low-funded districts would get $200 more.

CSR defends middle class in SB 1040 opposition

Prior to the Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee’s day-long hearing on SB 1040, the Coalition for Secure Retirement-Michigan (CSR) held a news conference denouncing the legislation for “undermining the retirement security of current and future school retirees and dramatically increasing employee contributions.” MEA is a member of CSR, which represents active and retired school employees, corrections employees and nurses—the middle class.

No guaranteed replacement for funding lost with PPT elimination

This week, the Senate Finance Committee began hearing testimony on SB 1065-1072, a package of bills that would eliminate the personal property tax (PPT) on industrial equipment collected by local governments.

Muskegon Heights schools gets emergency manager

Governor Snyder has appointed Donald Weatherspoon as Muskegon Heights School District emergency manager effective April 23.

Changes coming to proposed retirement legislation

If you’ve wondered whether contacting legislators or providing testimony or attending legislative sessions was important—then yesterday’s Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee decision to work on a substitute for SB 1040 is proof that your actions make a difference.

Update

Pontiac may lose state aid for failing to reduce debt

Even after two rounds of staff layoffs—the most recent on April 13—the Pontiac school district still hasn’t reduced enough of its $24 million deficit to receive its April 20 state aid payment.

The move by the Michigan Department of Education, who is overseeing the progress of the district’s deficit elimination plan, has questions about the district’s progress.  Not only does the district stand to lose $1.25 million in state aid this Friday, future aid payments will also be withheld.

Forty teachers were laid off last Friday with only two days notice. Substitutes were hired to cover those classes.

Walter Burt, Pontiac’s interim superintendent, is looking to staff to bear the brunt of the deficit elimination plan since they are the most costly. However, mismanagement of funds by the administration is the reason the district is so deeply in debt.

Senators get an earful on SB 1040

The Senate Appropriations Retirement Subcommittee heard six hours of testimony yesterday on SB 1040 from a variety of people—current school employees, retired teachers,  community college employees, a student teacher, and a concerned parent. 

Challenges to PA 4 repeal based on technicalities

Just before yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline to challenge PA 4 repeal petitions, the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility criticized the drive on technical issues. PA 4 allows the appointment of an emergency manager to municipalities and school districts when a financial emergency exists.

Court of Appeals will make final ruling on immediate effect lawsuit

In the next phase of the continuing House battle over the immediate effect of recent legislation, the Court of Appeals issued a stay on an Ingham Circuit Court decision ordering House Republicans to stop ignoring Democrats’ demands for roll call votes on immediate effect.

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