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Not waiting for government to the rescue, a Detroit father has reached out to at-risk youth through the sport of boxing. Today, his enrichment program puts young people on a path to educational success.

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Top Legislative Leaders Make School Pension Reform Their Top Budget Issue

New bills to close the state-run public school pension system to employees hired after Sept. 30 of this year may get a boost, according to a weekend report from the Gongwer news service. … more

Teacher Wears Pizza Uniform From Second Job To Protest Pay

Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher Jeff Kass came to the district’s board meeting May 24 dressed in the uniform he wears while working a second job at a pizza restaurant. Kass makes $83,000 a year. … more

Conflicted: Unions Call Nonmembers ‘Free Riders,’ But Insist on Representing Them

Michigan state Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, introduced legislation May 11 that would allow public sector employees who choose not to pay union dues to also opt out of being covered by the union contract in their workplace. … more

State Retirement Managers Develop Convenient, Hypocritical, Excuse

Michigan lawmakers might offer new school employees defined-contribution, 401(k)-style retirement benefits instead of defined-benefit pensions. … more

Did You Know? Post-Water Crisis, Fed and State Money Pours Into Flint

Since the water crisis was uncovered in 2015, state and federal dollars have been rushing into the Genesee County city — a total of $347 million so far.  … more

School District Spent $275,000 in Public Dollars on Tax Hike Vote

The Kent Intermediate School District spent $275,206 on its May 2 enhancement millage victory, according to documents obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. … more

School Funding in Michigan Reaches All-Time High

It’s time to put to rest the myth that Michigan schools are starving for lack of funds and have serious policy conversations about how to use current dollars more effectively. … more

Michigan Teachers Are the Nation’s Highest Paid

A study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that Michigan public school teachers are the highest paid in the nation when salaries are compared to average incomes in the state where they serve. … more

If School Pensions are ‘Vital,’ They Should Have Been Properly Funded

Defined benefit pensions could work just fine for both employers and employees. But government pensions have a major problem: They are ultimately run by politicians who are good at and used to making promises, but also good at and used to passing the bill to somebody else.  … more

Astroturf? Facebook Page Promotes Union Politics Under Tea Party Flag

A Facebook page that claims to be the voice of a Michigan tea party group that supports limited government is promoting a policy stance of the state’s largest teachers union, the Michigan Education Association. … more

From 2009 to 2016, the gap between how much the state of Michigan has saved and how much it needs to cover pension promises made to school employees and retirees has grown by $17.1 billion. The pension system’s unfunded liability was $12.0 billion in 2009, and it rose to $29.1 billion in 2016.

How much is $17.1 billion? It's enough to give each of the state’s 95,000 public school teachers a $180,000 bonus.

… more

For the Record

Holland Public Schools has the support of voters, who overwhelmingly approved two school property tax measures this month. The school district also is better funded than the nearby charter school. … more
The term “gobbledygook” was created sometime in the 1940s to denote meaningless bureaucratic phrases, which often find their way into government press releases. The Michigan Department of Education is a frequent contemporary source of such language. … more
The solar energy industry would have to increase its number of workers from 373,000 to 12.6 million people to provide the same amount of energy as coal. … more
The majority of new teachers never get the “secure method of providing for retirement” that a union says is important. That’s because most of them never become “vested” or eligible for eventual retirement benefits — something that happens only after 10 years on the job. … more
W.K. Kellogg Foundation gave $51 million to Battle Creek Public Schools to improve education for students. But the school employee pension costs will take a bite out of it. … more
A Democratic politician went to extreme lengths recently to express her party’s opposition to public charter schools, whose boards sometimes contract with for-profit education management companies to operate their schools. … more
A $4.3 million project in Chicago shows the tenuous relationship between the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the stated intention of restoring the Great Lakes. … more
A Michigan Democrat wanted to criminalize having a for-profit management company operate a charter school. … more
Former state Rep. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor complains that under legislative term limits, lobbyists use lawmakers’ limited tenure in office to dupe them about bills. … more
U.S. News & World Report ranked three charter schools as the best high schools in Michigan. Yet, one amendment proposed by Democrats to a bill would have wiped them out if passed. … more