As Conventional Public Schools Fail Transparency Law, Charters are Targeted

Pontiac Public Schools posts teachers' contract that expired in 2011

Last fall the Pontiac School District announced it had cut its deficit by $12.6 million in one year thanks in part to “substantial employee concessions," according to the Oakland Press.

But citizens had to take the district's word about any concessions because it has failed to post the two most recent teacher contracts, ones signed in July 2012 and June 2013. This despite Michigan Department of Education regulations that require school districts provide a copy of their current union contract within 30 days of any changes being made.

The school district did turn over copies of the two most recent contracts when asked by Michigan Capitol Confidential. But as of Dec. 31, 2014, the current contract was not available online. The most recent contract available on the district’s website is one that expired in 2011.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

Pontiac School District isn’t alone in this transparency failure. Yet in some precincts of the state's political establishment there appears to be a double standard on such matters. Specifically, when charter schools are called out for supposed transparency shortfalls that are common with conventional public schools.

For example, State Rep. Sarah Roberts D-St. Clair Shores, alleged in a press conference that charter schools were not following the state law’s transparency requirements. Roberts didn’t respond to an email asking if she had looked into whether conventional public schools had followed transparency requirements.

“Pontiac is a perfect example of the Michigan Department of Education's double standard,” said Audrey Spalding, the education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “MDE has given Pontiac a pass for its academic and financial crisis, not to mention its failure to follow transparency laws. In comparison, the department quickly jumped to judge and potentially penalize charter schools, based on allegations made by others.”


See also:

Democratic Lawmakers Target Charter Public Schools, School Choice

State Can't Name Any School Closed for Poor Performance

Charter School Groups Warns State Superintendent

Challenging the Rhetoric in the War on Charter Schools

Conventional Schools in Anti-Charter Legislator's District Have Little to Brag About

A Democrat's Reasons For Supporting School Choice

Related Articles:

'Reckless Expansion' of Charter Schools? Not Quite

No Sports At Charters? Good Teams Can’t Undo A Poor School

Another Charter School Critic Misses the Mark

The Numbers Are In: Detroit Charters Outperform Detroit District Schools

A Response to the New York Times About Charter Schools in Michigan

Do Michigan Charter Schools Get More Bang for the Buck?

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a free market, non-partisan educational institute workings towards a freer and fairer government. Our main focuses are in the following policy areas: Fiscal, Education, Energy and Environment, Labor, and Criminal Justice. Learn more at

Related Sites