Monday, July 26, 2010

August Primary-July 30th Update

Dear WLEA Members,
The August 3rd Primary Election is less than a week away.

To read more about the upcoming election, go to:
(go to the members only section)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Report on the 2010-2011 School Aid Act

This report came from Ruth Beier on July 8th. Ruth is the MEA's Economist.
The Governor signed the 2010-11 School Aid Act yesterday with a few vetoes. You have received updates, but here are all of the important items in one place: (My comments are in red in the text of the message).

1. All districts will receive an additional $11 per pupil for 2009-10. (This is approximately ONLY $170,000 for the Walled Lake Schools..not much). The money will be distributed to districts in the July 2010 and August 2010 state school aid payment. This has the effect of reducing the cut in the foundation allowance from $165 to $154 per pupil for 2009-10. This is extra money for 2009-10 that the district did not budget.
2. For next year, districts will receive the same foundation allowance that they received in 2009-10. Most districts budgeted an additional reduction in the foundation allowance for 2009-10. The foundation allowance will not be reduced, and will actually be $11 per pupil higher than it was at the beginning of 2009-10.
3. For example – if a district’s foundation allowance was $7,165 per pupil in 2008-09, that district started out the 2009-10 year thinking it would see a cut of $165 per pupil, or an effective foundation allowance of $7,000 for 2009-10. That district will actually receive $7,011 per pupil for 2009-10. That district will also receive $7,011 per pupil in 2010-11.
4. There is no provision to restore the 20j payments in 2010-11. (The section that would have restored up to ½ of the 20j funds if a tax amnesty bill passed was vetoed by your governor.)(Vicki Barnett - House Rep (D) and Lisa Brown - House Rep (D) voted AGAINST this School Aid Bill BECAUSE they did NOT restore any portion of the 20J funds).
5. Declining enrollment, At-Risk, School Readiness, Special Education, Adult Education, and Vocational education categoricals are largely unchanged from 2009-10.
6. The 5-hour online PD requirement is eliminated.
7. Districts are still allowed to count up to 38 hours of PD as instruction if it takes place when students are not scheduled for class. It can occur any time between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
8. Districts are NOT allowed to count a PD day as an instructional day to meet the instructional day requirement. PD can only be used to meet the instructional hour requirement (1,098 hours).
9. The instructional day requirement remains the same as current law: Districts must provide at least 165 days of instruction in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and at least 170 days of instruction in 2012-13. In addition, districts can’t provide fewer instructional days than they provided in 2009-10. If a district had 173 days in 2009-10, it has to have at least 173 in 2010-11 and beyond.
10. The “30 hours worth” of snow days is changed to the number of days "equivalent" to 30 hours, which for most districts would be between 5 and 6 days. In other words, districts are allowed to count between 5 to 6 days that are cancelled due to uncontrollable circumstances toward the day requirement.
11. A “day” for the purposes of meeting the day requirement is still not defined. In the past, if students came to school, the day counted as an instructional day. So far, the MDE has not published any rules about days having to be at least a certain number of hours.
12. The MPSERS rate increased from 16.94% in 2009-10 to 19.41% in 2010-11. There is no indication that the 3% tax on school employees will reduce this rate. (This 2.47% raise in the MPSERS is DESPITE or IN ADDITION to the 3% of salary each of us is now required to pay into the "Health Trust".....which has no guarantees.)
13. The $500,000 grant for Pontiac Schools that was included in the conference report was vetoed by the governor.
14. The $300,000 grant for a new Agriculture program at Saginaw Valley State University was vetoed by the Governor

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Educators REALLY do during their summer break!

Here is the email I sent WLEA members a week ago:
If I could ask for your help for this Thursday's Board of Education Meeting, I would appreciate it.

In my 3 minutes of Audience Participation time during the next School Board Meeting, I would like to share information regarding members of the WLEA who are working on classes and/or additional degrees this summer. I would also like to know what classes or seminars you are teaching this summer! Or perhaps you are working with colleagues on curriculum and/or materials!

I want to continue to reinforce the idea that educators don't just get free time all summer! We all work hard to continue our educations, develop educational materials, and plan for the year ahead!
Thank you!

The response was overwhelming! I have 8 pages of responses thus far, and I am still receiving new ones every day!

Click on the link below to read the document!