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Update message: Important meetings on public education

Important meetings on education


Dear Friends,
 
There are a number of important developments I'd like to share with you, but for now I wanted to call your attention to some important opportunities to talk about the future of public education in Michigan. Members of the State Board of Education have organized a number of forums around the state to discuss some of the key policy issues facing public education, including proposals to create an "a la carte" system for funding schools (known as the "Oxford Foundation report"). If you have the opportunity to attend one of these, we would strongly encourage you to make the trip.


Monday, March 11, 6-8 pm, Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor: Little Theater, 601 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Hosted By: Washtenaw Alliance for Education. Contact: Liz Margolis, Ann Arbor Public Schools: margolis@aaps.k12.mi.us

Alert Flash: Your voices are being heard on EAA bill

FLASH - The pressure is working! Help stop the EAA "state takeover" bill in committee!

Friends,
To all of you who have sent messages regarding HB 6004 - the EAA or "state takeover" bill: Thank You!!
For those of you who haven't yet had a chance to contact your State Representative, the time is NOW.

Call House Education Committee members TODAY!

Click below to read the latest alert!

Action alert: Don't let them take the public out of public ed!

Legislative leaders have committed to push through a long list of bills during this "lame duck" session, including two that could be devastating to public education as we know it.

I realize that sounds over-the-top, but take a look at the bills on the fast track:

  • House Bill 6004 makes a new state-wide school district, the Education Achievement Authority, which can take over the "bottom 5%" of schools, and perhaps others - while the local district has no say. The EAA is free to hand these schools over to for-profit charter management companies, and in fact it can charter new schools anywhere in the state (whether the schools there are failing or not). The EAA would be run by a board appointed by the Governor, and even the elected State Board of Education would have no say in its work.
  • House Bill 5923 would create a host of new forms of charter school, including selective admission schools, boarding schools, single-gender schools, and potential store-front schools operated by cultural organizations, businesses and other groups. Part of the mission given to the EAA in HB 6004 is to implement these provisions.

Find out more! Click below to read the full alert.

Special sections: 

Speak out now to stop late cuts this year!

We sent this letter to Chmn. Cushingberry, other members of the House Appropriations Committee, Reps. Ebli (Monroe) and Warren (Ann Arbor), and Sens. Brater and Richardville, on April 5th. A copy of the final letter in PDF form is attached to this posting. Dear friends, As you may know, last week the Senate passed a bill, along party lines, that would cut $34 per pupil from school districts' allowances for this year. This and other cuts were part of an attempt by the Senate's Republican majority to close the School Aid Fund deficit of $377 million without any new revenues. While the $34 cut seems small, it is coming so late in the schools' fiscal years that it has the potential to be very destructive -- especially to districts which have little or no reserve.

Letter to the Governor and Legislature

Below is the letter one group of parents, from Ann Arbor, sent to Governor Granholm and to their local representatives, Senator Liz Brater and Representative Rebekah Warren, on 16 March. They invite other groups pf parents to borrow the letter and use it as a framework for their own letter to their elected representatives. Every letter and message to our legislators makes a difference!
Dear Governor Granholm, Senator Brater, and Representative Warren: We are parents of children attending the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

What's up with school funding?

For a fuller discussion of how the school funding system works, and how it came to look this way, check out this article originally posted on one local PTO's online conference. The article reviews the politics behind Proposal A and what's happened since then. It also has links to some very helpful documents. The article is reprinted below, with permission.
Posted October 12, 2006. With the run-up to the November elections and the (muted) buzz about Proposal 5, I thought this would be a good time to wax eloquent a bit about how our schools are funded.

Why can't we?

One of the comments I hear most often about programs at our public schools goes something like, "We're such a well-off community, why can't we have..." and insert your preferred item: smaller classes, more teachers, foreign language, more enrichment, or any of a dozen others. Another thing I hear, more quietly, from many families at Burns Park is, "Do we have to have all the PTO fundraisers?" The answer to the second question is "Yes," and the reason for that answer has a lot to do with the answer to the first question. And for that answer, we need to go back in time a bit - thirteen years to be precise.

Letters from the trenches

Public school officials have begun to speak out about the funding crisis which faces schools across the state. They not only decry the repeated resort to mid-year funding cuts, they also call for a reassessment of how public education is funded.

Background on school funding

To understand the current debates about school funding, it really helps to know how the current system works, how it came about, and earlier attempts to fix it. In this document we'll provide links for more information on how school funding currently works in Michigan, and proposals for change.

System created by Proposal A

Legislators' contact info

For those of you who'd like to contact your state Representatives and Senators directly, we've collected links to help you confirm who your local legislators are and how to contact them. We've also reprinted some committee membership information; the House and Senate Appropriations committees will be tackling any spending questions directly, with new taxes and any reconsideration of school funding being taken up by other committees as appropriate.
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