This Week & Next (Feb 19, 2016)

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House & Senate start FY ’17 School Aid Budget Hearings
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the House and Senate School Aid Subcommittees heard presentations for the Department of Management and Budget about Governor Snyder’s proposed $14 billion School Aid Budget for the state in FY 2016-17. A highlight of this budget is the Governor’s proposal to invest $150 million to increase the per pupil foundation grant by $120 for those at the minimum grant level and $60 for those at the maximum/base grant level.  This will bring the Minimum foundation grant to $7,511 per pupil and the Maximum/Basic grant level to $8,229 per pupil, narrowing the funding equity gap to $718 per pupil. Click here if you’d like to see a district-by-district foundation grant levels for next year in the proposed budget.

House introduces “Putting Students First” DPS reform package

Key members of the House of Representatives today introduced a six-bill package to address education reform in Detroit, called the “Putting Students First” proposal.  In addition to addressing the operational debt of DPS and setting up a new public school district in the city, the bills include a series of additional reforms includings A-F letter grading; MPSERS reforms; flexibility in school calendars; alternative certification for teachers; and the prohibition of sick-out teacher strikes. We will post links to the bills as soon as they are available. Please click here to learn more about the House GOP plan,click here to read GLEP’s media response, and click here to listen to GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert discuss the issue this morning on WKAR’s Current State with Mark Bashore. The Appropriations Committee is expected to have their first hearing on the bills at 9:00 am next Wednesday, February 24.

Another Senate Hearing on DPS Bills – More on Charters
The third hearing on SB 710 & 711 (Hansen), the DPS reform bills, were held on Tuesday this week in the Senate Government Operations Committee. A number of groups provided testimony this week, including MAPSA, the Michigan Authorizers, SBE President John Austin, and ESD President Dan Varner.  Please click here to download their complete presentations.  Most of the discussion continued on issues not directly included in the bills, like charter schools and the Detroit Education Commission. GLEP continues to work with key legislators to ensure that any education reforms in Detroit will preserve school choice, keep parents in charge of their children’s education, and increase accountability over poor performing schools.  The committee is expected to have another hearing at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, February 16.

Jalen Rose featured in national story
The Players Tribune has just published a profile of Jalen Rose, former UM and NBA basketball star and founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a Detroit charter public school. In this inspirational and moving story, Jalen talks about his upbringing in Detroit, his NBA career, and why he choose to start a charter school in his hometown.Click here to read the full story.

Could Justice Scalia’s Death Help the Teachers’ Unions?
The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could deal a major blow to a California lawsuit that had been widely expected to weaken the financial muscle of teachers unions across the country, the LA Times reports. In Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn., many court watchers had expected Scalia to deliver the deciding vote against unions, limiting their ability to collect membership dues and other fees. Without Scalia, a 4-4 split is considered likely. That would maintain the status quo — a huge win for unions, at least for now. Click here to read more about this case and recent developments.

Charter Schools Change Lives
Across America, charter schools are uplifting students, empowering parents, inspiring teachers, and strengthening our communities. But without additional help from Congress, millions of children and families can’t access the incredible opportunities available through charter schools. Let’s join together to open the doors – tell Congress to increase support for the charter school movement. Will you help the National Alliance for Charter Public Schools open the doors to more quality charters? Click here to learn more and find out how to show your support.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday February 22

Tuesday February 23

  • Senate Education Committees
  • House School Aid Subcommittee
  • Senate Government Operations Committee hearing re: DPS bills, 12:30 pm

Wednesday February 24

  • Senate School Aid Subcommittee
  • House Appropriations Committee hearing re: DPS bills, 9 am

Thursday February 25

  • Capital Issues Forum, 8:30 am
  • House Education Committee, 9 am

Friday February 26

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please considermaking a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director