A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Only Two School Districts With Deficits Don't Meet 'Best Practices'

Incentives for public schools to save money, reform is working

Two school districts that had deficits last year didn't qualify for Gov. Rick Snyder's "best practices" $100 per student bonus.

Buena Vista Schools in Saginaw and Global Heights Academy of Dearborn Heights were among the 48 districts that had a deficit at the start of the 2011-12 school year and were the only two of the districts in deficit to not qualify for the "best practices" money, according to a list released by the Michigan Department of Education.

There were 714 school districts in the state — including charter schools — that met four of the five requirements and got the $100 per student.

The Michigan Education Association listed the five requirements:

  • Charge employees at least 10 percent of health care premiums.
  • Become the insurance policyholder on medical benefit plans.
  • Produce a plan to consolidate services with cost savings.
  • Obtain competitive bids for non-instructional services.
  • Develop a "dashboard" that measures the district's effectiveness.

Jan Ellis, MDE spokeswoman, said some districts made the June 1 deadline to qualify for the $100 per student bonus but hadn't completed their paper work so they may not be on the list.

Buena Vista Interim Superintendent Patricia Scott didn't return phone messages left at her office. Karey Reed, education director at Global Heights Academy, said the district paid 100 percent of health care premiums for its employees. Reed said she would check to see what the other missed requirement was but didn’t return another message.

Buena Vista had a $51,193 deficit in 2010-11. Global Heights Academy had a $23,166 deficit in 2010-11.

Kurt Weiss, spokesman for the state budget office, said the budget office, governor’s office and the Legislature put together best practices they believed were "achievable."

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See also:

Michigan Capitol Confidential Education Coverage

Teacher Contract Analysis

Coverage of School District Claiming Cuts

Helpful Facts About Michigan's Public Sector

Northern Michigan University economist Hugo Eyzaguirre discusses how raising the minimum wage will hurt emerging local economies. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."


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