Engler Slated to Appear at Proposal 'A' Forum
Gongwer News Service, January 5, 2004
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John Engler and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) have both
agreed to speak at a day-long forum on the history and effects
of the Proposal A school financing system to be held on the 10th
anniversary of the proposal's electoral victory.
The forum on Monday, March 15, in the Lansing Center is still
being finalized by the Institute for Public Policy and Social
Research at Michigan State University, which is sponsoring the
Former Treasurer Douglas Roberts, interim director of the
institute, said Ms. Stabenow, who as state senator in 1993
offered the legislative amendment that eliminated all property
taxes for school funding, will open the session that morning.
Mr. Engler, who essentially oversaw the process to win approval
of the school funding plan in the Legislature and then support
by the voters in 1994, is scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Mr.
Engler called development of Proposal A the crowning achievement
of his administration.
Mr. Roberts said he hoped an official from the administration of
Governor Jennifer Granholm would close the session.
Also planned, though not yet finalized, is a session featuring
academics who have studied the effects of Proposal A on school
finance and education, and a session with legislators serving in
1993-94 who will talk about the efforts to develop and pass the
proposal as well as current legislators who will discuss whether
they think changes are needed to the proposal.
"We're not trying to enshrine or demolish" Proposal A, Mr.
Roberts (who also played a major role in its development) said.
"We're trying to present its history and what it's done."
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MASA To Back Sales Tax On Services
MIRS, January 5, 2004
Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM's former education advisor said his group
will embrace an expansion of the state sales tax to services
with hopes of raising new dollars for Michigan schools.
Dr. Michael FLANAGAN reports the Michigan Associaton of School
Administrators has not taken a formal stance on it but he
expects that sometime this year.
"Absolutely," he said. "There's a fairness issue here."
Flanagan, who was on loan last year to the new governor and
still advises her on a weekly basis, pointed out that a person
playing a round golf pays no sales tax but a disadvantaged
mother buying winter clothes for her children has to pay the 6
percent sales tax.
Last year the Michigan Education Association floated the concept
through a group calling itself the Red Cedar Coalition. That
movement went nowhere. Now even the governor has hinted she
might look at the expanded sales tax as part of a general
overhaul of the state's business tax system.
Flanagan argues Michigan's economic future is at risk without
more dollars for education.
Education is the foundation of where our economy is going to go.
This work force has to really grow. It has to be the best in the
country or we can't keep the auto industry," he warns.
Some have suggested any tax shift be revenue neutral. Flanagan
"I think we should come up with new bucks. I know politically
we're supposed to probably take a position that this should be
revenue neutral and that's the way to take the first step." But
he rejects the politically popular notion saying that new money
is needed now, not later.
What influence, if any, his thinking will have on the new
governor as she moves toward a new business tax policy is
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Michigan Department of Education Pushes Teacher Tenure
Gongwer News Service, January 7, 2004
Teachers would not have sufficient job protection without
tenure, the Department of Education said in a report to the
legislative Appropriations committees.
Though most of the 9-page report is a history of tenure
highlighting 1993 changes to the act, the report from the office
of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins argues that
the Public Employees Relations Act and collective bargaining
under that act would not be sufficient to protect teachers from
politically-motivated firing or disciplinary action.
"The due process protections of the Teachers' Tenure Act are not
mandated by the Michigan Public Employees Relations Act," the
report said. "Without such statutory protections, tenured public
school teachers may risk being considered employees-at-will,
with no substantive or procedural due process rights."
The report also notes that teacher collective bargaining rights
are not as strong as they were in 1993 when the tenure act was
last addressed. In 1994 and 1995, the PERA was amended to
provide penalties to teachers who went on strike.
"It is widely recognized that, by effective evaluation and
monitoring of teachers, and adequate documentation of findings,
school administrators can best ensure the quality of their
teaching staff," the report said. "The Teachers' Tenure Act has
been amended to strengthen such oversight of both probationary
and tenured teachers. The act thus empowers school
administrators while guaranteeing basic fairness to Michigan's
public school teachers."
In response to questions from the Appropriations Committee
members about the cost to the state of the tenure act, the
report said the state paid $22,096 for State Tenure Commission
operations, including $17,660 for court reporting and transcript
fees. The remainder was travel expenses for the administrative
law judge and the Tenure Commission.
The Legislature had looked at making "significant" cuts in the
operations of the Teacher Tenure Commission, the report said.
Efforts to reach several members of the House and Senate
Appropriations Committees about the report were unsuccessful.
The report also said that during the 2002-03 fiscal year the
commission had hearings on 22 cases, 10 involving motions (which
included motions to clarify legal issues involved or to delay
further hearings) and 12 on cases on the merits of charges
against teachers. During the same year, there were 53 decisions
although 22 of those involved withdrawal or dismissal of the
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Michigan Bill Would Ban Candy, Soda In Schools
MIRS, January 6, 2004
On the heels of Detroit’s dubious ranking as America’s fattest
city, Rep. Frank ACCAVITTI Jr. (D-Eastpointe) today renewed his
call for fellow lawmakers and the public to support his bill
banning the sale of candy and other sweets in all public
Accavitti’s bill, HB 4441, would also prohibit the sale of soft
drinks in elementary and middle schools. It pans chewing gum,
candy bars and any food or drink consisting of 35 percent or
more sugar. It would also ban juice drinks that are less than
100 percent real fruit or vegetable juice and food or drink with
more than 8 grams of fat per serving.
“Poor eating habits develop at an early age,” Accavitti said.
“We need to do everything possible to encourage our children to
eat more nutritiously and to trim the fat from their diets when
they are young, so they form the foundation to lead active and
healthy lifestyles as adults.”
The bill has eight Democratic co-sponsors and one Republican
co-sponsor, Rep. John PAPPAGEORGE (R-Troy).
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