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News from local districts across Michigan.

Muskegon Heights schools to be replaced with charters?

Both MIRS News and the Grand Rapids Press are reporting that the emergency manager running schools in Muskegon Heights has proposed replacing the public school district with a network of charter schools.

Some nice press to share

One of our local papers here in Ann Arbor, where MIPFS is based, ran a rather nice story about us recently. We wanted to share this with our broader community so everyone could get a sense of what we're about. Feel free to share! http://heritage.com/articles/2011/06/07/ann_arbor_journal/news/doc4de6c9...
*Parent group continues push for school funding* Tuesday, June 07, 2011 By Donna Iadipaolo, Special Writer When they began in early 2007, Michigan Parents for Schools called themselves "Ann Arbor Parents for Schools." Though still based in Ann Arbor, one of the primary aspects of MIPF's work remains focused on public school funding. "We started with the aim of ensuring an adequate and stable source of funding for public schools in Michigan," said MIPFS Executive Director Steve Norton, "and that is still one of our primary action areas." Much of MIPFS's work is online. They prompted many of their activists, who number several thousand across the state, to contact the governor and state Legislature about the School Aid budget. Now their efforts will continue on education....
For the full article, please visit the Ann Arbor Journal site here: http://heritage.com/articles/2011/06/07/ann_arbor_journal/news/doc4de6c9...

Facing a clouded future: options

h2. Part II: The problem, and a glimpse at solutions we might consider _In this two-part essay, MIPFS Executive Director Steve Norton reflects on the defeat of a proposed regional enhancement millage for the Washtenaw County area, and the choices it leaves school districts facing. While the details may differ, these same dilemmas face every school district in Michigan._ The poor state of Michigan's economy, combined with bad tax policy choices in earlier years, mean that school districts across Michigan are having to make huge cuts after years of belt-tightening. The defeat of the Washtenaw Schools Millage has removed one option we had to soften the blow. *But remember: we still have kids to educate. AAPS's total enrollment actually increased this year. Unlike, say, the auto industry, our schools are not in trouble because of a lack of customers. Demand for a good education has never been higher.* Moving forward, we have two issues on each of two levels: revenues and costs, at the local and state levels. Let's look at each.
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Facing a clouded future

h2. Part I: Reflections on the defeat of the Washtenaw Schools Millage _In this two-part essay, MIPFS Executive Director Steve Norton reflects on the defeat of a proposed regional enhancement millage for the Washtenaw County area, and the choices it leaves school districts facing. While the details may differ, these same dilemmas face every school district in Michigan._ We as a community will be faced with unpalatable choices as we try to close the $15 to $17 million budget gap that Ann Arbor's schools will face over the next year, with more cuts to come in the coming years. But before we can make sound choices, we must have a real understanding of what our schools do and what resources that requires. And in order to do _that,_ we must get past the caricatures which were painted during the millage campaign and instead speak to each other as real people with real concerns.
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Proj. Washtenaw: impact of Senate cuts on WISD districts

The Senate Fiscal Agency has published estimates of the impact of cuts included in the Senate’s school aid budget bill, with detail for each district and public school academy (charter school) in the state. To get a copy of the full document, you can find it here.

As part of our Project Washtenaw effort, we’d like to highlight some of the potential consequences to districts in the Washtenaw ISD. The WISD includes districts with a wide range of characteristics, so the impact here can say a lot about what is happening state wide.

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Headlines from around the State

So much news is coming in from around Michigan about local school districts in trouble that we decided to simply list the headlines and links here, and allow our readers to see the picture for themselves. The news looks bleak, but we also encourage parents, teachers and administrators from around the state to contribute strategies they have found successful in dealing with the current funding crisis.

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Town Hall meeting on the state budget

[From AAParentsforSchools.org] Washtenaw County legislators met with local citizens, city leaders and school officials tonight to explain the current state budget crisis and seek public support for their solutions. Speaking to a very interested audience, the four Democratic lawmakers underlined their commitment to finding new sources of revenue for the state budget and school aid fund rather than relying on further cuts to balance the budget.

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.
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