Talk Sup’t. - 1/7/2011
FACT FINDING REPORT
On December 22, 2010 the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) released the Fact Finder Michael P. Long’s report. This report is part of the ongoing negotiations between the
West Bloomfield School District and the West Bloomfield Education Association (WBEA) the Union that represents the Teachers of the district.
Fact finding provides School Districts and bargaining groups such as the WBEA an opportunity to present their bargaining position and rationale behind their position to a neutral Labor Expert selected by the State of Michigan. The Fact Finder does not direct or order a particular agreement, but reviews each side’s perspective and provides a fresh view on the issues with objective recommendations. While neither side is required to accept the recommendations, the Fact Finder’s Report provides each side the chance to step back and reflect on their bargaining position in light of the Fact Finder’s opinion as they continue to bargain.
The West Bloomfield Board of Education has reviewed the report and believes Mr. Long’s assessment and recommendations validate the current economic crisis the district is experiencing and their bargaining position aimed at assisting them to work out of this crisis.
The West Bloomfield School Board and the union representing the teachers (WBEA) have sought to find a shared settlement that is fiscally responsible in light of the current difficult economic conditions. In addition to this, the Board of Education is committed to ongoing dialog with the (WBEA) with the goal of reaching a collaborative agreement, an agreement that will allow the district to continue to provide quality programming to its students and work out of the current financial deficit.
While negotiations have been difficult the District has not lost sight of its purpose of providing a quality education for each and every child of the district.
You may read the entire report at http://www.westbloomfield.k12.mi.us/files/filesystem/FactFindersReport.pdf
UNITED WE WALK
The 17th Annual United We Walk Celebration will take place on Sunday, January 16. Do not miss this program celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s theme is United We Remember and Move Forward. Judge Denise Langfor Morris is our Keynote Speaker and she will talk about how we got to this point and where we go from here. We have had such great support this year, and the student s are to be commended for helping to put on such a great program, along with Co-Chairs Brian Flaggs, Pastor Bill Matlack, Eleanor Squaire-Spears. Our button this year was designed by Dana Korogodsky, a student in Melissa Wood’s art class at Orchard Lake Middle School. This has been hailed as one of the best designs ever, and she is to be commended for her talent. This is a tremendous undertaking and speaks to the passion in this community that values diversity, promotes unity and underscores the worth of every person.
The Walk begins at 3:00 at West Bloomfield High School, followed by food and refreshments generously donated by Whole Foods. The program will start at 4:30 in the auditorium, followed by a candlelight vigil. Please join us!
VOICES OF TRIUMPH
In addition to United We Walk, another celebration in recognition of Dr. King will take place as the Orchard Lake Middle School Theater and Choir students perform “Voices of Triumph” on Thursday, January 20 at 7 pm in the OLMS cafeteria. This tribute to Dr. King will be an evening concert of poetry and song and is free to all that come.
Join us at our January 19 PCN Meeting at the West Bloomfield High School Auditorium, as we bring you an important presentation entitled Beyond Internet Safety. Parent and attorney Frank Hoffman, Matt Roth from the US Dept. of Justice, Shaindle Braunstein, Director of Hermelin ORT, Gary Weisserman, Head of School at Oakland Early College, West Bloomfield Police Department officers, and our Director of Technology, Dr. Neil Currie will discuss Cyber Bullying, Protecting your Privacy and Identity, Sexting, and Living in a web 2.0 World. This is an important topic in today’s world as we all try to protect our children.
Last night’s Coffee Talk was inspiring as Tom Goulding presented the latest information on the budget. I appreciate everyone’s interest and input, and I invite those who were not able to attend to join us at our next one. There are still three more opportunities to join us:
Wednesday January 12, 9:30 am at the West Bloomfield Township Public Library
Thursday, February 3 at 7:00 pm at Orchard Lake Middle School
Thursday, February 24 at 9:30 am at Scotch Elementary
REDESIGNING A CULTURE OF LEARNING
Alan November, recognized internationally as a leader in education technology has guided schools government organizations and industry leaders as they plan to improve quality with technology. In this special presentation Alan will explore what essential questions and planning processes are needed to prepare our students to have a global work ethic, and how to turn our classrooms into global communication centers. He will share his work on redesigning the culture of teaching and learning with concrete tools, websites and ideas that educators parents and community members can take and use with students to create a more empowered authentic model of learning.
Monday, January 31, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Oakland Schools, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Call Larry Thomas at 248-209-2297.
OAKLAND COUNTY SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION
Tim Skubick, author and producer of Michigan public television’s Off the Record, and the longest serving member of the state capital press corps will focus on the new landscape in Lansing, and what changes to expect in education. He will also provide advice on how to best navigate through the new landscape as school communities advocate for their students. There will be a Q & A session at the conclusion of the presentation. This will take place on Wednesday, January 19 at 7:30 pm. at the Ferndale School District Board Office, 2920 Burdette, Ferndale, MI. RSVP to Connie Birkle at email@example.com or by calling 248-209-2517.
The following is a review of the rumors that another School Aid Fund raid is about to take place. There are two links in the message below – one leads to a joint statement noting the negative implications such a raid would have on K-!2 education and the other is a link that allows people an easy way to affix their name and email address to a letter to the governor. I ask that you act on this legislative matter immediately. It would help if our PTO leadership responds also so the parent voice will also be heard by our new governor. As budget positions are solidifying in Lansing over the next week or so, immediate action is required.
Legislative Update for the Week of January 3-7
"Rumors Circulate About Another SAF Raid"
Rumors began circulating in Lansing this week that newly elected Governor Rick Snyder may propose shifting the general fund (GF) cost of the community colleges and higher education budgets over to the School Aid Fund (SAF).
The state is already facing a projected $1.5 billion GF shortfall next year and, presuming the Governor goes through with his plan to replace the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) with a 6 percent flat corporate tax, the state will have about $3 billion in spending cuts to do to balance the FY 2011-12 budget.
According to the House Fiscal Agency if the full costs ($1.8 billion) of the Higher Education and Community College budgets were shifted into the SAF, it would reduce K-12 spending by $1,150 per student. The School Aid Fund is already facing a roughly $200 million shortfall from current year state revenue and the loss of over $300 million in federal Education Jobs Act money leaves Michigan schools with a potential half a billion dollar single year drop.
ACTION: MASA and MAISA together with MASB have put out a joint statement expressing their strong concerns about these rumors. The groups also urged the Snyder administration to make education a priority in next year’s budget by reforming Michigan’s tax code and empowering schools to innovate. MASA/MAISA Government Relations also put out an alert for members to use to contact Governor Snyder and tell him that reforming education funding cannot mean forcing more students to share fewer dollars. Take action by visiting http://capwiz.com/gomasa/issues/alert/?alertid=21564506&type=SW&show_alert=1