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.

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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.”

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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:

Whitmer Education Plan Trips Over Charter Schools

Mackinac Center and Virginia Tech Professor Dr. Marc Edwards Sue Wayne State Over Flint Water Documents

Shri Thanedar Talks State Government

Another Charter School Critic Misses the Mark

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

Detroit Charters Send More Graduates to College Than Peers Do

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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