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Project Washtenaw

Items connected with MIPFS's Project Washtenaw, a grassroots action project in the Washtenaw ISD

Opening life’s doors with math

Let’s bury the myth that struggling kids just don’t want to try.

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of seeing a grassroots movement in the making. Young men and women, under the spiritual and practical leadership of civil rights veteran Robert Moses, are working to help their peers take ownership of their education and overcome the obstacles that face so many students. And they are doing it with math.

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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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Schools are the foundation of our future

This article was published in the Other Voices series of op-ed columns by the Ann Arbor News on Sunday, June 14, 2009. The "version posted on the Mlive.com web site is available here":http://www.mlive.com/opinion/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2009/06/other_voices_a_.... The school budget news from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and other communities in Washtenaw County is disturbing, and for good reason. School officials say that in the next two years we will all be driving over the edge of a "funding cliff" that threatens to injure our public schools for years to come. Some school districts are on the brink of failure, while others are having to cut teaching staff for the first time in recent memory. The depth of the coming crisis varies for each district, but the crisis is coming just the same. The question is, should we try to do something about it? Should we the people, the taxpayers, be worried? The answer should be a resounding "YES!"
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Welcome to Project Washtenaw!

h4. Project Washtenaw is a MIPFS-sponsored grassroots organizing campaign inside the communities of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. *What's it all about?* Any real effort to keep our schools healthy has to begin at the local level. MIPFS is committed to helping parents and citizens get involved in their local schools, understand the financial problems our schools have been facing, and help make the hard choices that arrive every year at budget time. Good schools mean strong communities. Moreover, understanding what is happening in our local schools helps citizens push for constructive change at the state level.
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