School District Requiring Parents To Pay For Magazine Subscription May Be Breaking State Law

Chippewa Valley covered all of employee health care costs; wants parents to pay for class supplies

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Chippewa Valley Schools is asking parents to pay for periodicals that the Michigan Department of Education says must be supplied by school districts.

In doing so, they may be breaking the law.

Sixth grade social studies teachers in the district sent a letter to parents saying that "limited school tax, district and school funding" made it increasingly difficult to pay a combined $8.75 for 26 issues of a publication and four maps.

The magazine, "Time for Kids," comes out monthly from Time magazine. Parents were also asked to pay for a "Map of the Month."

The letter read: "In order for us to continue to provide these quality publications, we are requesting that your child return the form below with $5.75 for the Time for Kids subscription and a separate payment of $3 for the Map of the Month series (please enclose the exact amount for both separate payments; do not combine these amounts as it presents a bookkeeping problem for the front office)."

Michigan Department of Education rules state: "School districts must provide the following items free of charge for any required or elective course: … weekly readers or other periodicals if required for classroom use."

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Until recently, Chippewa Valley Schools paid 100 percent of the health care costs for its teachers. Teachers now pay 10 percent toward those costs.

The school district, located in Clinton Township in Macomb County, has 65 teachers and administrators who make more than $100,000 per year in salary. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the district's average salary was $76,665 in 2010.

The district also pays two employees who work exclusively on union business more than $200,000 per year. According to a Freedom of Information Act request, Maryanne Levine is an employee the district releases from her teaching responsibilities so she can work 100 percent for the union. Chippewa Valley pays for $103,807 of Levine's $145,117 total compensation. The union pays the remaining $41,310. Larry Schulte, an elementary teacher, is allowed to spend half of his time involved in union business. Chippewa Valley pays $104,480 of his $125,135 total compensation. The union pays the remaining $20,655.

Superintendent Ronald Roberts didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

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See also:

Helpful Facts About Michigan's Public Sector

Taxpayers’ K-12 Money Diverted to Union Business

Per-Pupil Spending Little To Do With Performance

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