This Week & Next (June 5, 2015)

FY ’16 School Aid Budget Passed; Equity Boosted
On Tuesday, the Senate-House Conference Committee passed, on a 5-0 vote, HB 4089, which represented the final version of the $14 billion FY ’16 School Aid Budget. The contents of HB 4089 was then inserted in HB 4115, the omnibus education spending bill for K-12, higher education and community colleges, which passed easily in the House and Senate on Wednesday. GLEP was pleased to see progress in creating a uniform per-per pupil foundation grant for all students, as the legislature used the 2x equity formula to increase the Minimum foundation grant by $140 to $7,391 per pupil and the Basic Foundation grant by $70 to $8,169 per pupil.  We were also supportive of the $26.4 million investment in K-3 reading programs. Click here for additional information on the final budget, including district-by-district funding allocations.

Governor Releases Third-Grade Reading Workgroup Report
On Wednesday, Governor Snyder held a press conference to release a report from his Third Grade Reading Workgroup. This workgroup was chaired by GVSU Trustee John Kennedy, included key legislators and administration officials, and met for four months to develop policy recommendations to improve early literacy in the state.  As one of the earliest proponents of improving early literacy, GLEP is pleased with the workgroup report, which outlines a comprehensive and balanced approach to improving early reading proficiency and recommends an appropriate combination of screening, tutoring, mentoring and intervention in order to get the right help to the right students at the right time.

We believe Rep. Amanda Price (R-Lake Twp), Chair of the House Education Committee, will soon be introducing a bill to put an effective K-3 Reading Program in place for all students in the state. With leadership from Governor Snyder, bi-partisan legislative consensus and $100 million in new resources to address at-risk students and early literacy in the FY ’16 School Aid Budget, GLEP believes the legislature should be able to come to a speedy resolution to this policy challenge. Click here to watch the Governor’s press conference.
 Photo courtesy of Pattrick Yockey

Rep. Tim Kelly Says Dissolving DPS is an Option
As Chair of the School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp) will be a key legislator in the debate over education reform in Detroit. On today’s episode of WKAR’s “Off The Record” (as well as the web-only overtime segment), Rep. Kelly discusses the need to expand school choice and the potential elimination of DPS as an educational entity in the city. GLEP strongly supports Rep. Kelly’s comments and positions on these issues, and we look forward to further engagement in an effort to provide quality education choices for students in the Detroit area.

GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert on Student Testing & Teacher Evaluations
The issue of assessments, students “opting out” of testing and their impact on teacher evaluation continues to escalate in the public discourse, and GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert appeared on “The Now Detroit” program on WXYZ TV-7 on Wednesday to provide perspective from the education reform community. Click here to watch this interview.

Teacher Evaluation Bill in House Education Committee
The House Education Committee took 2.5 hours of testimony yesterday on SB 103 (Pavlov), the teacher and administrator evaluation bill that has already passed in the State Senate. The majority of testimony was in support of the bill. Key provisions of the bill include creating a framework for teacher and administrator evaluation, based in part on student growth and assessment data; local control for a district to choose the evaluation tool that best meets their local needs; and protecting the landmark teacher tenure reforms passed by the legislature in 2011. GLEP supports SB 103 and is working with committee members to ensure its passage.

Universal School Choice Passed in Nevada
The state of Nevada became the first state to pass a universal Education Savings Account (ESA) for all students, in a bill signed Tuesday by Governor Brian Sandoval. This is the first state that ensures that state funding follows the child to the school of their choice, public or private. Other state ESA programs are usually limited to smaller or targeted segments of the student population. This is great news for families in Nevada, and GLEP hopes this type of conversation will make its way to Michigan.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, June 8

  • GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert as guest on MIRS Monday Podcast

Tuesday, June 9

  • Senate Education Committee: SB 279 & 280, the “Steve Cook/MEA” bills
  • State Board of Education Meeting

Wednesday, June 10

  • Michigan Prayer Breakfast, Lansing
  • House Education and Appropriations Committees w/Brian Whiston, new Superintendent

Thursday, June 11

  • House Education Committee: SB 103 (Pavlov), Teacher Evaluations

Friday, June 12

  • Publish “This Week & Next” e-newsletter
  • “Off The Record” with Brian Whiston, new Superintendent of Public Instruction

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


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director