Monday, March 30, 2009

Retirement Stimulus Legislation Pulled

Wednesday afternoon, it became clear that the School Employee Retirement Stimulus proposal was not going to make it through the legislative process. In order to allow school employees to move ahead with their retirement plans and districts to make critical staffing decisions, the legislation is being pulled from consideration. MEA put out a press release thanking supporters of the proposal for their efforts to save school jobs and implement a creative solution to our budget crisis.
"I'm disappointed that some of our legislators and school officials could not see the broader benefits for Michigan's future that this legislation would have brought," said MEA President Iris K. Salters in the release. "We are especially grateful that the bipartisan supporters of this legislation pushed through the obstacles their leadership created and put Michigan students before politics."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Federal Stimulus Money for Local Schools

Public school districts will be receiving Federal Stimulus Money in the near future. The major share of these funds will be categorized as “Stabilization Funding.” According to the Senate Fiscal Agency the stabilization funding is specifically meant to prevent layoffs. School districts are obligated to spend the money on services, contracts, or other transactions. This money is not meant to be placed in a school district’s general fund balance or “rainy day fund.”

The Senate Fiscal Agency estimates school districts in the 15-B Coordinating Council shall receive the following amount of “Stabilization Funding.”:

Cadillac $2,212,521 Per Pupil $492

Manton $752,547 Per Pupil $511

Mesick $945,921 Per Pupil $828

Evart $1,284,326 Per Pupil $814

Marion $1,026,494 Per Pupil $1,179

Pine River $1,255,319 Per Pupil $709

McBain $860,515 Per Pupil $572

Forest Area $839,566 Per Pupil $760

Wexford/Missaukee ISD will receive $2,344,934 in Special Education Funding.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lansing Mayor Values Workers

Check out the great video, (top video on the right of this page), with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero taking on FOX News regarding the value of Michigan workers.

Poverty and Student Success

A study by Dr. David Berliner, released today by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, provides powerful evidence for a fact that school employees have known all along—if you don’t solve the problems outside the classroom, you cannot expect all students to be able to achieve inside the classroom. The Michigan Education Association and the 15-B Coordinating Council applaud Dr. Berliner in his call for leaders to address children’s physical and mental health as well as safety and not hold public schools accountable for factors beyond their control.

Here in Northern Michigan, where many families are now faced with a severe economic crisis, more and more students are losing their homes to foreclosure and job loss, which often also results in loss of medical care, lack of nutritious food, and enormous emotional stress. To expect these children to be able to fully concentrate and succeed in school is absurd.

Solving the problems of poverty and homelessness will take involvement from the entire community. We must address these out of school factors if we are to close the achievement gap and significantly impact student learning. We urge every Michigander to join us and work toward making sure our students have the safety and security they need to achieve their full potential and be prepared for the jobs Michigan needs.

Berliner study available at

Monday, March 9, 2009

Even More Federal Money!

In addition to the special education, Title I, competitive grants, and stabilization general fund money, the Federal Stimulus plan includes grants for local units of government, including schools, for "shovel ready" projects. This web site shows a list of requests from school districts and other local units of government. These projects have not yet been approved. If your district receives any of this money, it will reduce the amount of general fund revenue your district would otherwise have spent on capital projects.

If your district has not applied for this money, you might ask them to.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Federal Stimulus Money. How Much For Your District?

The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency has estimated the amount of total Federal funds for each school district in Michigan. The totals for districts in our area are as follows:

Lake City $1,195,696

McBain $860,515

Evart $1,284,326

Marion $1,026,494

Pine River $1,255,319

WM ISD $2,344,934

Cadillac $2,212,521

Manton $752,547

Mesick $945,291

Forest Area $839,566

The answer to the most ask question is; Yes you can use a large share of this money for general operations, including salaries.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New School Accreditation System Proposed

A major redesign of the state’s accreditation program for public schools is under way – and your immediate input is needed on the proposal.
The proposed Michigan School Accreditation System (MI-SAS) would replace Education YES!, an accreditation system used since 2002. The MI-SAS is expected to be used in the 2009-10 school year.

Public input is need by March 6, 2009

Please read information at and let the Michigan Department of Education know what you think about the proposal. The deadline for public input is March 6.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Can Federal Stimulus Dollars Be Used for General Operations?

Here is proof that the Federal stimulus money can be used for general operations. The document below is from the National School Boards Association. The bold excerpt says,

"School districts receiving stabilization funds may use the funds for general support, as well as for any activities authorized under ESEA, IDEA, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and for school modernization, renovation, and repair of public school facilities (including charter schools), which may include modernization, renovation, and repairs consistent with a recognized green building rating system. "
Administrators who say that the stabilization money can't be used for compensation can be directed to the NSBA site.

Here is a link. This document is called "AARA Preliminary Information for School Districts" and you can find it under "Resources."