General Supports Junk Food Purge
"It's a tidal wave of garbage masquerading as lunch." MI
State Senator Virg Bernero
MIRS, April 15, 2004
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General Kimberly Dawn WISDOM said today she applauds Sen. Virg
BERNERO's (D-Lansing) effort to dump the Doritos and Twinkees
from school cafeterias in favor of apples and carrot sticks.
Wisdom is well aware of the rising obesity problem with today's
children and she supports any legislation that can better
regulate what children are shoveling in their mouths during
school hours. It's not only about the fat content, but schools
also need to be conscious about calorie counts and serving
"We are at a point where we're seeing significant adverse health
affects from children not eating nutritious food and it's
important for us to set some guidelines in what they are offered
in the school setting," she said.
Wisdom's comments come as Bernero held a noon press conference
at the Capitol about his intention to introduce legislation that
would mandate that school cafeteria's a la carte lines offer
foods that meet the same federal nutritional standards as the
food they dish out in the regular cafeteria lines.
High schoolers and middle schoolers are feasting on the cookies,
donuts and soda pop offered in these a la carte lines, which
feeds a habit of poor eating that can continue into a child's
"It's a tidal wave of garbage masquerading as lunch," Bernero
Children are fatter than in years past. Type II Diabetes cases
are increasing, as are dental problems and a host of other
ailments usually reserved for older age, he said.
At today's press conference, Bernero was joined by Debbie
ZANNOTH of the Ingham County Medical Society, Dave FINKBEINER of
the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and Charles
SCARBOROUGH of the Black Child and Family Institute.
Representatives of the Michigan State University Cooperative
Extension were present and Bernero's intern, Londale NELSON of
Everett High School, spoke about the poor food choices sold at
Besides hitting the a la carte line, Bernero also wants to kick
junk food vending machines out of middle schools and keep them
turned off at high schools during regular school hours. If
schools don't follow these recommendations, Bernero is
threatening School Aid Fund cuts.
As of now, Bernero doesn't have co-sponsors in the Senate or in
the House, but he feels confident he can generate support after
the bill is introduced, which could happen as soon as next week.
"In light of all of the studies showing the health problems in
this state, I have to believe there's increased sensitivity to
this," he said.
Last December, the State Board of Education adopted a resolution
encouraging schools to offer whole-grain breads, fruits,
vegetables, low-fat milk and nuts.
In general, the Department of Education is supportive of
Bernero's concept, but doesn't like the punitive approach the
Lansing senator is pushing.
"We want school districts, parents and health food advocates to
work together to develop positive policies in our schools," said
Martin ACKLEY of the Department of Education.
Bernero's bill likely will be referred to the Senate Education
Committee, where chairman Sen. Wayne KUIPERS (R-Holland) has
been reluctant to move on bills that hand down additional state
requirements on local school districts.
"If parents have a concern with what's being served in their
schools, they should approach their local school board. I'm not
hearing from parents, 'our school boards are being unresponsive
here, we need some help here.'" Kuipers said. "It's a local
control issue and not one that should be taken up at the state
Bernero's legislation may be DOA in the Senate, but Bernero did
get a little media splash from today's news conference.
Television cameras from three Lansing stations were there and
the Lansing State Journal ran a story on Bernero's effort in
House Subcommittee To Recommend Replacing
High School MEAP with ACT
Gongwer News Service, April 19, 2004
The Michigan Educational Assessment Program test for high school
pupils should be replaced with the ACT, the test taken by most
college-bound students, a House subcommittee will recommend.
Rep. Joanne Voorhees (R-Wyoming) will issue Tuesday the findings
of the House Education Subcommittee on Standardized Testing and
Replacement. The findings will center on replacing the high
school MEAP with the ACT while recommending certain changes
designed to prevent added costs to the state from making the
At almost the same time Ms. Voorhees goes before the full
Education Committee, Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland), will hold a
news conference with school principals and the Michigan
Parent-Teacher-Student Association to announce legislation to
replace the MEAP with the ACT.
The subcommittee's report also will include a number of new
deadlines, including how long the vendor has to process test
scores. Scores were many months late last year.
Attorney General Rules On Charter School
MIRS, April 19, 2004
In response to a question posed by State Superintendent of
Public Instruction, Tom WATKINS, Michigan Attorney General Mike
COX today held the board of directors of a Public School Academy
may only conduct business so long as a majority of its members
Watkins specifically asked whether the board of directors of a
public school academy may meet to transact business, and make
decisions on behalf of the academy, when the number of directors
then in office on the board is less than the minimum number of
directors specified in the academy's authorizing resolution and
In his opinion, (Opinion No. 7155), Cox noted that the state's
School Code does not "specify the minimum number of board
members required to establish a quorum or to take action on
behalf of the academy." Public School Academies are also
governed by the Nonprofit Corporation Act.
That Act states that a "majority of the members of the board
then in office, or the members of a committee thereof,
constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business, provided
that the articles of incorporation or bylaws may provide a
larger number, and provided further than in any corporation
where there are more than 7 directors, the articles of
incorporation or bylaws may provide that less than a majority,
but in no event less than 1/3 of directors may constitute a
quorum of the board. The vote of the majority of members present
at a meeting at which a quorum is present constitutes action of
the board or of the committee, unless the vote of larger number
is required by this act, the articles or the bylaws."
In conclusion, Cox wrote: At a meeting at which a quorum is
present, action may be taken by a vote of the majority of
members present unless a larger number is required by the public
school academy's articles of incorporation or bylaws.
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