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April 3, 2014

 

Bridge “Academic Champ” Statistics Are Misleading (Dangerously So)

January 30, 2014

bridge academic champs and income I am often a fan of work that appears in Michigan’s online “The Bridge” but an article that appeared this week which provides “academic champ” ratings for school districts misses the mark completely and hits the wrong target.

Judging the quality of a school district’s work on the basis of test scores is simply not a useful measure since those scores depend heavily on factors outside of a school district’s control, particularly the socio-demographic characteristics of its students.  This article by the Bridge seems to takes important first step to solve the problem by attempting to control for socio-economic status (measured by the share of students receiving free and reduced school lunches).  What is left over after accounting for this difference should measure something like the “pure” contribution of the school.

But the measure used by Bridge (and calculated for it by Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants) simply does not do this.

The measure uses regression analysis to produce a baseline that theoretically factors out socio-economic status.  But the baseline they use simply does not do the job and what is left is /still/ heavily dependent on socio-economic status.  The strongest evidence of this is that the correlation between “academic champ” score and per capita income in Oakland County school districts is 0.85 (out of a possible 1.00), an incredibly strong relationship (I dream of finding such strong correlations in my own work).  bridge academic champs and income

(bridge academic champs in .pdf format)

The schools at the top of the “champ” ranking here are also the richest schools, the schools at the bottom are also the poorest and the line between them is almost perfectly straight.   (With the possible exception of South Lyons, no school district in Oakland County significantly over or under performs its raw per capita income).  An indicator cannot be said to control for income if every increase of $25,000 produces an increase of 6 points in the score (on a measure with a total range of only 50 points) and if this is true for almost every pairwise comparison in the dataset.  If a study controls for socio-economic status and still find an extremely strong relationship between performance and socio-economic status, then the study is not controlling enough and should not make any claims based on that control.

There is an analogy that might help make this clearer.  In the world of medical research there are lots of studies about the heredity involved in medical conditions.  Imagine a study about cholestol levels like the one done by Bridge that says “we should assume people have bad eating habits just because they have high cholesterol, since some of it is hereditary”, so we need to control for heredity.  Fortunately the researchers in this study have access to levels of maternal cholesterol and they do a new study that controls for that factor.  From this they note that that some people with high cholesterol are actually outperforming what their level /should/ be since their heredity predicted even higher levels, and they label these people as “cholesterol champs” and look to see what the champs did well as a source of recommendations for others.

All well and good, so far.  But the list also implicitly contains a list of “cholesterol duds”, and a lot of people look at the bottom of the list to confirm their previous impressions that some people are simply lazy and gluttonous.  And the study omits an important factor: that fathers may be an equally important factor in determining of cholesterol levels.  We need to get data on fathers’ levels, and can compare it to the “champ” numbers that control for mothers’ levels.  If, when we do, we find that there is no relationship between between the cholesterol levels of children and fathers, then we can be satisfied that the “champs” are doing something right (and maybe that the others are doing something wrong).  But if we find a very strong relationship–something like the .85 correlation found above), then we need to rethink the study because there are some “champs” who are clearly being helped by strong paternal genes rather than by any of their own choices, and there are some “duds” who face significant barriers to low cholesterol levels because they inherited a high propensity from their fathers that did not show up in the maternal study.

A study that looks at only some of the relevant control factors (overall income, parental education levels, per-pupil school allowances, percentage of /concentrated/ poverty), and (explicitly) rewards and (implicitly) punishes particular schools on the basis of those  incomplete controls undoes all of the positive outcomes that it intended to achieve.  Because the Bridge study fails to control for precisely what it claims to control, its “champ” (and “dud”) scores send exactly the wrong message.   It says that schools in rich areas are somehow doing a better job with their resources than those in poor areas even after control for their richness.   But the Bridge study simply fails to take into account /all/ of the resources that richer areas have, those that are not measured a regression based purely on school lunch figures.

Bridge needs to pull these calculations and rework them before presenting them back to us.  What is here is sadly misleading and, to the extent it influences how we think about who is “working hard” to educate our kids, it will lead us to the wrong conclusions about who is at fault and what we should do about it.

How Michigan Funds Schools

December 5, 2013

Thanks to Ferndale Friends for publishing the article below.  I am hoping over the next several months to do presentations to local organizations, councils and others about how Michigan funds its schools.  It’s not the most exciting topic or the easiest to understand but it is a topic that has greater impact on our state than any other I can think of.   You can find a .pdf version here: school funding editorial 2013

Please put away your notes and let’s begin our discussion of school funding with a high-stakes multiple choice test:

1. Does Michigan fund schools from:                         A. Local sources         B. Federal sources C. State sources
2. Does the revenue come from:                                   A. Property taxes        B. Income taxes            C. Sales taxes
3. Is school money allocated per:                                   A. District                     B. School                        C. Pupil

As with most interesting questions, there actually no easy solution.  While the answers in Michigan now tend toward C., the best correct response is the old standby answer D. “All of the above.”  School funding in Michigan is so complex that even our political and economic leaders often fail to understand it.  For a more clarity we need to look at where the money comes from, where it goes, and how the system has changed.  The best place to begin is the system Michigan used to use to fund schools (and the one that many people think continues to this day).

Before Proposition A

Until 1994, most school funding came from local property taxes in amounts that depended on how much a school district could get voters to approve.  This allowed for local control, but it also allowed high inequality.  In the early 1990’s, the state legislature responded to concerns about high property taxes by simply eliminating property taxes as a source of school funding.  The legislature gave voters a choice between a ballot initiative called Proposition A based largely on sales taxes and a “statutory alternative” based on income and business taxes that would come into effect if Proposition A failed.  Voters approved Proposition A by 69% in part because it responded both to those who thought property taxes were too high and those who sought more equal funding for schools.  But in appealing to many different groups the proposition created a very complex funding system.

Where does the money come from?

Without access to local property taxes, Proposition A turned to almost every other possible source, as the graph below shows:

  • Sales taxes and other state taxes. Proposition A took most school revenue from state sales tax (including a 2% increase imposed by Proposition A), state income tax and a combination of smaller state-wide sources including the lottery and cigarette taxes.
  • State property taxes.  Proposition A took the unusual step of levying a state-wide property tax of 6 mills ($6 on every $1,000 of a home’s state equalized value)
  • Local property taxes on non-homestead property.  Proposition A did not eliminate school taxes on second homes, rentals or commercial property (“non-homestead”), but limited school taxes on these to an 18 mill maximum.  Responsibility for collecting these taxes lies stay with the localities, and school districts must from time to time renew the millage by citizen vote, though no district in the state have rejected a levy in this category.

Local homestead property taxes are still in the picture, but only in limited ways.  Proposition A allows any district to pass a local property tax referendum for bonds or “Sink-ng funds” for capital investment including construction, renovation and technology, but the amount is limited by a state regulations.  For most districts, this is the only way to add revenue beyond what is pro-vided by the state.  (Some other districts are classified as “hold harmless” because they had higher per pupil funding when Prop. A came into effect.  These districts may ask voters to approve additional operating millages. Ferndale is not one of those districts).

school funding figure1

Where does the money go?

Most school funding comes to school districts in a fixed amount per student, the “per pupil” or “foundation” allowance.  Ferndale’s per-pupil allowance for 2013-14 is $7,758.  This money follows the student, so lower enrollment means less revenues.  The allowances differ in part according to the amount that a school districts was spending when Proposition A came into effect in 1994, but the law imposed minimum and maximum for state per-pupil funding.  Funding rose for schools at the bottom and most schools at the top used the “Hold Harmless” provision to keep their spending high.  Over time the minimum level has moved slowly upward, bringing schools with it, while “hold harmless” levels increase only at the rate of inflation.  Ferndale’s $7,758 is above the current minimum of $7,026 (Madison Heights, for example) but below the maximum per pupil of funding of $8,049 (Avondale schools, for example) and far below the levels reached by “hold-harmless” schools with millages that are as high as $11,854 (Bloomfield Hills).

The per-pupil allowance accounts for most Michigan school funding, but districts receive funds from other sources which reward districts for adopting specific practices and provide support for school lunches, school readiness, “at-risk” students.  Many of these so-called “categorical” grants operate under very specific spending guidelines and attempt to deal with the fact that per-pupil education costs are not the same for all students (and are often highest in districts with the minimum allowances established in Proposition A).

How has funding changed?

There is one final question for which we do not need to resort to “All of the above”

4. Which trend do we see in school funding:    A. Increase               B. Stagnation             C. Decrease

Here the clear answer is C.  While there has been considerable disagreement over the adequacy of school funding, it is difficult to find any experts who do not see a recent clear decline in school funding in Michigan (except for a few who accidentally or intentionally ignore the effects of inflation).  As the graph shows, the per pupil funding level adjusted for inflation has fallen by over 15% from its peak.  Per-pupil funding is not the only source of school funding, but none of the other sources have increased to compensate for the loss.  Since individual school districts are now increasingly liable for pension costs and face health care costs that are rising faster than inflation, the actual change over time is even greater.school funding figure 2

Kevin Deegan-Krause as a faculty member in the Political Science department at Wayne State University and was elected to the Ferndale School Board in November 2012.  This article appeared in the November/December 2013 issue of Ferndale Friends.

Sources: Arsen, David (2013) “Faculty Viewpoint: On Michigan School Finance”, Michigan State University, http://edwp.educ.msu.edu/new-educator/2013/faculty-viewpoint/; Summers, Kathryn (2013) “The Basics of School Funding.” Senate Fiscal Agency, http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Departments/DataCharts/DCk12_SchoolFundingBasics.pdf;  ; Van Beek, Michael (2013) “School Funding Myths”, Mackinac Center, http://www.mackinac.org/12610

Stop experimenting with our schools. Whom to tell and what to say!

December 7, 2012

Many of you have asked how to convey the message that you are opposed to the State Legislature’s abrupt and reckless attempts to experiment with education in our state (to the potential benefit of for-profit educational providers).  We in the Ferndale School District are lucky to be represented by Ellen Cogen Lipton, Vince Gregory and Rudy Hobbs who have resolutely supported public education.  These representatives still need to hear from us and the easiest way to do that is to use the “Capwiz” program sponsored by the Tricounty Alliance for Public Education, http://www.capwiz.com/tca4edu/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1, but…

There’s more we can do.

The legislators who really need to hear from us are the moderates of the party supporting these bills (in this case the Republicans) and those who are electorally vulnerable to small shifts in votes.  We need to get our voices heard by those in these critical swing districts.  We can and should contact them directly:

It is even more effective when those legislators hear from their own voters.  And here is where we come in:  all of us have siblings, parents, high-school friends, and co-workers in other parts of this state.  We need to reach out to these people and ask /them/ to voice their support to their own legislators.  Toward that end, we have prepared a list below of every community in Michigan with a moderate or vulnerable state legislator.  Scan the list, and send it on to your friends in the communities listed (or those who might know somebody in those communities).  Below is a brief version what to say and a list of communities whose members will have the greatest impact.  This is just one of many legislative fights over the coming year, and it’s good practice for the big struggles to come.  PLEASE contact your friends and relatives in the communities below and ask them to contact their state reps.  If you need more information, you can find it here: http://www.miparentsforschools.org/ and here: http://www.ferndaleschools.org/.

What needs to be said?  Just this:

The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a number of bills that would devastate Michigan’s public education system.

  • House Bill 6004/Senate Bill 1358.  I urge you to vote NO because it will remove local control, benefit for-profit charter management companies, force leasing of school buildings, and bypass the elected State Board of Education.
  • I House Bill 5923.  I urge you to vote NO because it will generate a wide range of untested charter school models without adequate supervision or accountability.
  • Any House version of SB 620, the so-called “Parent Trigger” Bill.  I urge you to vote NO because it will allow a small fraction of a district population to take over a public school, potentially to the benefit of for-profit charter management companies.

Together, these bills (and the proposed replacement for the School Aid Act) will hurt our ability to provide excellent education to all children, take away community control and funnel tax dollars to for-profit corporations.  Please stop attempts to rush them through the legislature.

Who needs to say it? People from these communities:

  • Addison (Addison Community Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Adrian (Adrian City School District) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Adrian (Madison School District (Lenawee)) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Albion (Albion Public Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Algonac (Algonac Community School District) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Alma (Alma Public Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Almont (Almont Community Schools) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Alpena (Alpena Public Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Armada (Armada Area Schools) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Armada (Armada Area Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Athens (Athens Area Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Athens (Athens Area Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Battle Creek (Battle Creek Public Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Bear Lake (Bear Lake School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Belding (Belding Area School District) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Benton Harbor (Benton Harbor Area Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Benzonia (Benzie County Central Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Berrien Springs (Berrien Springs Public Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Big Rapids (Big Rapids Public Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Blissfield (Blissfield Community Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Breckenridge (Breckenridge Community Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Brethren (Kaleva Norman Dickson School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Bridgman (Bridgman Public Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Britton (Britton-Macon Area School District) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Bronson (Bronson Community School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Brooklyn (Columbia School District) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Brown City (Brown City Community Schools) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Buckley (Buckley Community School District) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Burr Oak (Burr Oak Community School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Byron (Byron Area Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Cadillac (Cadillac Area Public Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Capac (Capac Community School District) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Carney (Carney-Nadeau Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Carson City (Carson City-Crystal Area Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Carsonville (Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Casco (Anchor Bay School District) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Cass City (Cass City Public Schools) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Cassopolis (Cassopolis Public Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Centreville (Centreville Public Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Cheboygan (Cheboygan Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Clare (Clare Public Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Climax (Climax-Scotts Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Clinton (Clinton Community Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Clinton Township (Chippewa Valley Schools) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 24) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Clinton Township (Chippewa Valley Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Clio (Clio Area School District) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Coleman (Coleman Community School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Coloma (Coloma Community Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Colon (Colon Community School District) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Colon (Colon Community School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Concord (Concord Community Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Constantine (Constantine Public School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Cooks (Big Bay De Noc School District) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Coopersville (Coopersville Area Public School District) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Covert (Covert Public Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Croswell (Croswell-Lexington Community Schools) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Custer (Mason County Eastern Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Davison (Davison Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Decatur (Decatur Public Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Deckerville (Deckerville Community School District) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Dowagiac (Dowagiac Union School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Durand (Durand Area Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • East China (East China School District) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Eau Claire (Eau Claire Public Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Edmore (Montabella Community Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Edwardsburg (Edwardsburg Public Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Elk Rapids (Elk Rapids Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Escanaba (Escanaba Area Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Evart (Evart Public Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Fairview (Fairview Area School District) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Farwell (Farwell Area Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Felch (North Dickinson County Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Fenton (Fenton Area Public Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Fenton (Lake Fenton Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Fife Lake (Forest Area Community Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Flat Rock (Flat Rock Community Schools) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Flushing (Flushing Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Frankfort (Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Fraser (Free Soil Community Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Freeland (Freeland Community School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Fruitport (Fruitport Community Schools) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Galesburg (Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Gladstone (Gladstone Area Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Goodrich (Goodrich Area Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Grand Haven (Grand Haven Area Public Schools) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Grand Rapids (Excelsior Township S/D #1) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Grandville (Grandville Public Schools) Rep:Joseph Haveman (District 90) Phone:(517) 373-0830, email:JosephHaveman@house.mi.gov
  • Grayling (Crawford AuSable Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Greenville (Greenville Public Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Grosse Ile (Grosse Ile Township Schools) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Gwinn (Hagar Township S/D #6) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Hale (Hale Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Harbor Beach (Harbor Beach Community Schools) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Harris (Bark River-Harris School District) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Hemlock (Hemlock Public School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Hermansville (North Central Area Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Hillman (Hillman Community Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Holland (Holland City School District) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Holland (West Ottawa Public School District) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Holland (Holland City School District) Rep:Joseph Haveman (District 90) Phone:(517) 373-0830, email:JosephHaveman@house.mi.gov
  • Holland (West Ottawa Public School District) Rep:Joseph Haveman (District 90) Phone:(517) 373-0830, email:JosephHaveman@house.mi.gov
  • Holly (Holly Area School District) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Homer (Homer Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Horton (Hanover-Horton Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Houghton Lake (Houghton Lake Community Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Hudson (Hudson Area Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Hudsonville (Hudsonville Public School District) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • 10 (Hudsonville Public School District) Rep:Joseph Haveman (District 90) Phone:(517) 373-0830, email:JosephHaveman@house.mi.gov
  • Indian River (Inland Lakes Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Iron Mountain (Iron Mountain Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Ishpeming (N.I.C.E. Community Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Ithaca (Ithaca Public Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Jackson (East Jackson Community Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Jackson (Jackson Public Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Jackson (Northwest Community Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Jackson (Vandercook Lake Public Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Jonesville (Jonesville Community Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Kalamazoo (Comstock Public Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo Public School District) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Kalamazoo (Comstock Public Schools) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo Public School District) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Kalkaska (Kalkaska Public Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Kimball (L’Anse Creuse Public Schools) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 24) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Kimball (L’Anse Creuse Public Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Kingsford (Breitung Township Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Kingsley (Kingsley Area Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Lake City (Lake City Area School District) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Lakeview (Lakeview Community Schools (Montcalm)) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Lawton (Lawton Community School District) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Leland (Leland Public School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Leroy (Pine River Area Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Lincoln (Alcona Community Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Linden (Linden Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Litchfield (Litchfield Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Ludington (Ludington Area School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Mancelona (Mancelona Public Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Manistee (Manistee Area Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Manton (Manton Consolidated Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Maple City (Glen Lake Community Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Marcellus (Marcellus Community Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Marion (Marion Public Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Marlette (Marlette Community Schools) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Marshall (Mar Lee School District) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Marshall (Marshall Public Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Marysville (Marysville Public Schools) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Mattawan (Mattawan Consolidated School) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • McBain (McBain Rural Agricultural Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Memphis (Memphis Community Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Mendon (Mendon Community School District) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Mendon (Mendon Community School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Menominee (Menominee Area Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Merrill (Merrill Community Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Mesick (Mesick Consolidated Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Michigan Center (Michigan Center School District) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Midland (Bullock Creek School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Midland (Midland Public Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Montrose (Montrose Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Morenci (Morenci Area Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Morley (Morley Stanwood Community Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Mount Pleasant (Beal City Public Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Mount Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant City School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Napoleon (Napoleon Community Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • New Boston (Huron School District) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • New Haven (New Haven Community Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Niles (Niles Community School District) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Northport (Northport Public School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Northville (Northville Public Schools) Rep:Hugh D. Crawford (District 38) Phone:(517) 373-0827, email:HughCrawford@house.mi.gov
  • Norway (Norway-Vulcan Area Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Novi (Novi Community School District) Rep:Hugh D. Crawford (District 38) Phone:(517) 373-0827, email:HughCrawford@house.mi.gov
  • Onaway (Onaway Area Community School District) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Onekama (Onekama Consolidated Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Onsted (Onsted Community Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Ortonville (Brandon School District) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Oscoda (Oscoda Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Otsego (Otsego Public Schools) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Ottawa Lake (Whiteford Agricultural Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Palo (Palo Community School District) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Parma (Western School District) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • Peck (Peck Community School District) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Pellston (Pellston Public Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Pentwater (Pentwater Public School District) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Plainwell (Plainwell Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Port Huron (Port Huron Area School District) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Portage (Portage Public Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Portage (Portage Public Schools) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Posen (Posen Consolidated School District) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Rapid River (Rapid River Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Reed City (Reed City Area Public Schools) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Remus (Chippewa Hills School District) Rep:Phil Potvin (District 102) Phone:(517) 373-1747, email:PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov
  • Richland (Gull Lake Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Richmond (Richmond Community Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Riverview (Riverview Community School District) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Rock (Mid Peninsula School District) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Rogers City (Rogers City Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Romeo (Romeo Community Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Roscommon (Roscommon Area Public Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Sand Creek (Sand Creek Community Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Sand Lake (Tri County Area Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Sandusky (Sandusky Community School District) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Sanford (Meridian Public Schools) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • Schoolcraft (Schoolcraft Community Schools) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Scottville (Mason County Central Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Shepherd (Shepherd Public School District) Rep:Kevin Cotter (District 99) Phone:(517) 373-1789, email:KevinCotter@house.mi.gov
  • South Lyon (South Lyon Community Schools) Rep:Hugh D. Crawford (District 38) Phone:(517) 373-0827, email:HughCrawford@house.mi.gov
  • Spring Lake (Spring Lake Public Schools) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Springport (Springport Public Schools) Rep:Earl Poleski (District 64) Phone:(517) 373-1795, email:EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov
  • St. Clair Shores (Lakeview Sch. District (Calhoun)) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • St. Joseph (St. Joseph Public Schools) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • St. Louis (St. Louis Public Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Stanton (Central Montcalm Public Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Stephenson (Stephenson Area Public Schools) Rep:Ed McBroom (District 108) Phone:(517) 373-0156, email:EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
  • Sterling Heights (Utica Community Schools) Rep:Jeff Farrington (District 30) Phone:(517) 373-7768, email:JeffFarrington@house.mi.gov
  • Sterling Heights (Utica Community Schools) Rep:Ken Goike (District 33) Phone:(517) 373-0820, email:KenGoike@house.mi.gov
  • Stevensville (Lakeshore School District (Berrien)) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Sturgis (Nottawa Community School) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Sturgis (Sturgis Public Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Suttons Bay (Suttons Bay Public Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Swartz Creek (Swartz Creek Community Schools) Rep:Joseph Graves (District 51) Phone:(517) 373-1780, email:JosephGraves@house.mi.gov
  • Tawas City (Tawas Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Taylor (Taylor School District) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Tecumseh (Tecumseh Public Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Tekonsha (Tekonsha Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Three Oaks (River Valley School District) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • Three Rivers (Three Rivers Community Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Traverse City (Traverse City Area Public Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Trenton (Trenton Public Schools) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Ubly (Ubly Community Schools) Rep:Paul Muxlow (District 83) Phone:(517) 373-0835, email:PaulMuxlow@house.mi.gov
  • Union City (Union City Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt Area Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Vestaburg (Vestaburg Community Schools) Rep:Rick Outman (District 70) Phone:(517) 373-0834, email:RickOutman@house.mi.gov
  • Vicksburg (Vicksburg Community Schools) Rep:Jase Bolger (District 63) Phone:(517) 373-1787, email:JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
  • Vicksburg (Vicksburg Community Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Vicksburg (Vicksburg Community Schools) Rep:Margaret E. O’Brien (District 61) Phone:(517) 373-1774, email:MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov
  • Waldron (Waldron Area Schools) Rep:Nancy E. Jenkins (District 57) Phone:(517) 373-1706, email:NancyJenkins@house.mi.gov
  • Walkerville (Walkerville Public Schools) Rep:Ray A. Franz (District 101) Phone:(517) 373-0825, email:RayFranz@house.mi.gov
  • Walled Lake (Walled Lake Consolidated Schools) Rep:Hugh D. Crawford (District 38) Phone:(517) 373-0827, email:HughCrawford@house.mi.gov
  • Warren (Warren Consolidated Schools) Rep:Jeff Farrington (District 30) Phone:(517) 373-7768, email:JeffFarrington@house.mi.gov
  • Watervliet (Watervliet School District) Rep:Al Pscholka (District 79) Phone:(517) 373-1403, email:AlPscholka@house.mi.gov
  • West Branch (West Branch-Rose City Area Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • White Pigeon (White Pigeon Community Schools) Rep:Matthew J. Lori (District 59) Phone:(517) 373-0832, email:MattLori@house.mi.gov
  • Whittemore (Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools) Rep:Bruce R. Rendon (District 103) Phone:(517) 373-3817, email:BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
  • Wolverine (Wolverine Community Schools) Rep:Peter Pettalia (District 106) Phone:(517) 373-0833, email:PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
  • Woodhaven (Gibraltar School District) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Woodhaven (Woodhaven-Brownstown School District) Rep:David E. Nathan (District 23) Phone:(517) 373-3815, email:DavidNathan@house.mi.gov
  • Yale (Yale Public Schools) Rep:Judson S. Gilbert II (District 81) Phone:(517) 373-1790, email:JudGilbert@house.mi.gov
  • Zeeland (Zeeland Public Schools) Rep:Amanda Price (District 89) Phone:(517) 373-0838, email:AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov
  • Zeeland (Zeeland Public Schools) Rep:Joseph Haveman (District 90) Phone:(517) 373-0830, email:JosephHaveman@house.mi.gov

Ferndale District Retention Rates

October 22, 2012

Quite a few residents have asked about our retention rates so I thought it would be useful to post some statistics here.  Retention is not a completely unambiguous measurement, so I have tried to gather as much information as I could and to check it with as many experts as I could find.

Making the Calculations

First, a few notes:

  • The basic measurement of retention is the number of students who are 1) residents of the district and 2) students in the school district, divided by the number of students who are 1) residents of the district.  (The statistic is not concerned with the number of students who are not residents of the district who attend school in the district).  In other words:
    • A/(A+B)
    • Where A = Students who are both ‘district resident’ and ‘district attending’), and B=Students who are ‘district resident’ but not ‘district attending’
  • These statistics are not provided in a direct form by the state.  The state provides information about the total number of ‘district attending’ students (C), the total number of a ‘district attending’ students who do not reside in the district (B) (as above) Students who are ‘district resident’ but not ‘district attending’.  This gives us B from the equation above but not A.  In order to calculate A, we need to take the total number of students who are ‘district attending’ (C)  and subtract the number who are ‘district non-resident’ (D).  This means that the final equation and the one I have used for all subsequent calcuations using MISchoolData is:
    • (C-D)/(C-D+B)
  • CEPI acknowledges that because it does not measure some private schools, its number for ‘district resident’ but not ‘district attending’ (B) might be low which would cause the average to look artificially high.  It is therefore possible to get an alternative count of (A+B) by looking at census figures for the 5-17 age group.  This is of course not perfect because these statistics are gathered only once each decade and because some elementary students are under 5 or over 17, but it still provides a useful proxy.  I have used both when calculating the statistics.

The Raw Numbers

Here are the figures for Ferndale and neighboring districts I get when using the MISchoolsData:

Using Census figures for population in the 5-17 age group
2002 2011 Change
Birmingham 98.6% 98.0% -0.6%
Berkley 96.3% 89.7% -6.6%
Hazel Park 95.5% 85.1% -10.4%
Royal Oak 95.2% 76.8% -18.4%
Ferndale 85.8% 71.7% -14.1%
Oak Park 74.4% 58.6% -15.8%
Madison Heights 82.2% 41.3% -40.9%

By this standard, Ferndale has a lower retention rate 71.7% than any neighboring district except Oak Park and a larger drop than Birmingham, Hazel Park or Berkley.  Royal Oak has had a sharper drop but from a higher initial point, so it still has a higher retention rate.  The year by year stats, furthermore, show that Ferndale’s retention numbers have dropped in 8 of the last 10 years. The year 2011 did show a slight increase in retention–0.2 percentage points–but given the 4.2% drop in 2009 and the 2.6% drop in 2010, it is difficult to say whether this reflects stabilization.

Of course there is the problem of the data and so I’ve recalculated all of the same figures using Census Data to measure the total number of district residents of school age.  There is no census data on this for 2002, the earliest year of the MISchoolData so I used data for 2000.

Using Census figures for population in the 5-17 age group
2002 2010 Change
Hazel Park 85.8% 72.9% -12.9%
Royal Oak 71.5% 71.2% -0.3%
Birmingham 74.3% 71.2% -3.1%
Berkley(2) 71.0% 69.0% -2.0%
Ferndale 72.0% 64.7% -7.3%
Oak Park 71.4% 53.5% -17.9%
Madison Heights 78.9% 47.9% -31.0%
Berkley(1) 71.0% 44.7% -26%

The drop here is not quite so significant but the patterns are quite similar.  Ferndale’s retention shows a decline (not as severe but more severe than districts to the north and east) and a relatively low level of retention.  Royal Oak and Birmingham show higher levels of retention and smaller levels of decline. Hazel Park shows a significant level of decline but still has significantly higher levels of retention than Ferndale.  Only Oak Park and Madison Heights show consistently lower levels and steeper declines.   Berkley is an odd case here since there is a sharp shift in its resident student population that does not seem to reflect the actual numbers.  Using the 2010 MISchoolsData with the 2010 Census Data (listing 1) shows a sharp drop and one of the lowest retention rates in the sample, but using 2008 MISchoolsData (listing 2) actually shows it to be higher than Ferndale and stable.  I’m working with educational statisticians to figure this one out, but my guess is that it has to do with the reporting rather than a drop in Berkley’s retention.).

It is also possible to calculate these figures using Full-Time-Equivalent students rather than the raw count but the numbers and the patterns do not differ significantly from those above (except that doing so removes the odd drop in Berkley’s numbers noted above).

The School District’s Data

It is also notable that the School District’s own data confirms low levels of retention.  The district does not publish its own statistics on these questions, but it has responded to queries from district public officials.  An email from the District’s enrollment coordinator Stephanie Hall to Pleasant Ridge City Commissioner Ann Perry noted that in 2011, 117 Pleasant Ridge school aged children attended non-public schools, 75 attended public schools in other districts and 118 attended Ferndale schools, for a raw retention rate of 38%.  Since Hall acknowledges that some private school/home school attendees may be missed in that count, it is appropriate to use Census Data for Pleasant Ridge.  Using the Census number of 368 for 5-17 population produces a retention rate of only 32.1%.

Other Evidence of Declining Retention

It is important to note that the retention data we have available only looks at parents who move their children to another district, but it misses another important source of declining retention: those parents who move their residence.  Of course this is more difficult to track, but conversations with 4 of the main realtors in the area suggests a consensus that between many home sales in Ferndale are motivated by the desire to move to a better school district, with estimates ranging between 20% and 50% of sales being school-motivated.  Since approximately 2000 houses were sold in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township in the last calendar year, that suggests the overall retention numbers for Ferndale should be discounted by between 400 and 1000 students which lowers the overall retention rate to somewhere between 53% and 63%.  According to realtors, the same discount does not apply as significantly to Royal Oak and Berkley because school concerns are less likely in those districts to be related to home sales.  Finally, the realtors report that about 25% of prospective homeowners looking in southeast Oakland county do not even consider the communities of the Ferndale School District specifically because of school-related concerns.

Conclusion

All of the evidence available unfortunately points solidly in the direction of unusually low and declining retention in Ferndale.

 

Sources:

School data:

https://www.mischooldata.org/DistrictSchoolProfiles/StudentInformation/NonResidentStatus/Snapshot.aspx

Census Data:

http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sdds/ed/index.asp?st=MI

Home sales:

thttp://www.zillow.com/homes/48069_rb/ and http://www.zillow.com/homes/48220_rb/ prorated for 1 year, assuming that sales in the Oak Park parts of the district are roughly comparable to those of the parts of Ferndale that are not part of the district.

Understanding the Open Meetings Act: Notes on a session with Eleanor “Coco” Siewert

October 9, 2012

My rapidly typed notes from the October 8, 2012 meeting with Eleanor “Coco” Siewert on “Understanding the Open Meetings Act” at the Ferndale Public Library.  Apologies if I missed anybody’s name or failed to accurately capture spoken content.  As always, just let me know and I will make the needed changes.

More information can be found here: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/OMA_handbook_287134_7.pdf
Ms. Siewert based her presentation on Don Schmidt’s chapter on OMA from Local Government Law and Practice in Michigan.  The 19 chapter publication is a publication by the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys.  Mr. Schmidt is a partner in the law firm of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone.

The open meetings act is interpreted all the time.  It is amazing how many interpretations the Attorney General has made and have come from court cases.  Those arise because people often do not what the act says it should do.  The act is only 5 pages long.

I’d like tonight to acquaint you with the open meetings act.  I am a parliamentarian, and just today I had somebody swear to me that you could not be nominated if you serve on the nominating committee.  When you correct people, assume that they won’t say, “oh, thanks.”

Where did the Open Meetings Act come from?  The newspapers, particularly the Detroit Free Press argued that Michigan should have a “Sunshine Law.”  Newspapers are the entity that are most likely to point out if you have not met the open meetings act.  Most of the notices of violations come from journalists and newspapers.

The basic intent of the law is to allow citizens to know what goes on in its government by holding nearly all business in.  It was intended to benefit the citizens and that is the spirit in which most decisions are made.  The definition of “a public body” is quite wide.  A meeting is a meeting where a quorum is present for the purposes of deliberating toward or making a decision.”  Quorum is the number needed to transact business as determined in the bylaws.  In a municipality or other body we look in state law.  This is why we always need an uneven number.  “Deliberating toward” is often a problem. People will say “we were only talking about it.”  Where “deliberating toward” is a part of the committee process, then the committees must follow the open meeting act.

Requirements: The open meeting act controls the parameters of deliberation when a quorum, and sometimes not quite a quorum, is not present.  The question of polling is key.  It is ok, for example, if a Mayor calls each person and asks them.  If the Mayor says, “I’ve talked to others and they agree,” that is not ok.

One of my favorite examples is that during the board meetings, board members were logged in a chatroom and discussing during the meeting, which the public could not hear.

[Twomey] If city council receives a note asking for a response, it would be necessary to send a single return.

[Twomey] You cannot do a reply all so that everybody sees what everyone else is writing.

[Siewert] It is ok to send out email but not to engage in discussion.  Email is discoverable in court, and it does not matter whether you are using an organization computer or a personal one.

Everything shall be in public, so that the public shall be able to attend and take part.  Meetings do not have to be held in the school district, but cannot be so far that it is inconvenient.

The next rule, often called the Detroit rule.  Persons can attend, record and broadcast live, but there may be rules to prevent disruption.  The court said “absolutely a person can record” but not in such a way as to disrupt the meeting.  A council member recently said “what should I do if there is a person taping me” and the answer is “then tape yourself.”  You do not have to show me that you are taping me, and that is alright.

Citizens have the right to address a meeting but it may be limited to a public comment period.  Every public meeting, subcommittee, etc. must have time for public comment, even a study session.  You can put it where you want to.  I recently chaired a taskforce on sewer, streets and water and we decided we would have our public comment last, because we were an information gathering group.  There should actually be something in the minutes to allow for comments, “I move that…”  Many cities have things open to the public for things on the agenda at the beginning and those for things not on the agenda at the end.  By the end of the agenda you can have people talk about anything they like.  Another thing that has been growing is comment on each items as they come forward.  The percentage of groups that had that 20 years ago is much smaller than it is now.

[VanderWeele] How does that work for timing?  Does it speed it up or slow it down.

[Siewert] The citizens seem to like it. It helps speeches.  I am not finding that it is delaying the meeting.  I am coming from a community where that is normal.  I am currently working with an organization where the speech.

[Twomey] Does the comment come at the beginning of the agenda item or after the presentation?

[Siewert] After the information is provided. Sometimes council members speak before the public and sometimes after.

The act says you have to have comment and you can determine when.

Note the last item “they may be required to identify themselves.”  The Michigan association of municipal attorneys.  Many organizations do not use cards.  That is not very common in communities unless you are having a public hearing.  When we have a big hearing, we have cards so that the chair can call off.  Generally speaking in most municipal communities you do not find cards or sign ins.  That is more school districts.  Do you have to say who you are?  In many communities they do not even task.  If it is not going into the minutes, they

The open minutes act say “what was done” not “what was said.”  I asked how people handle it: The person who put in the least said “I just said 15 people spoke” whereas the one who did the most said “I put the names and topics.”  The one who said the least said they list names only when there are assignments.

[Mueller] Does the act require them to mention what it is about?  A board can say it if they want it.  What the attorneys are arguing about is whether they can be required.  It certainly is all over the board.  If the open meetings act wanted that they should have to say what people were talking about, it would say that.  In Royal Oak they had some controversial issues over time in front of their city council and people from other states, but all the OMA says is that they must be citizens.

Requirements of notice.  Post a list and if there is a change, you must post a new schedule within 3 days of when the change is made.  According to the Attorney General.  If the public is denied access for any of the 18 hours, then it does not get counted in the 18 hours.

[Butters] How does that apply to an online notice?

[Siewert]  Let’s take the library for an example.  During what hours could people have access?  You could assume that people could do it.  Not everyone has

If a regular meeting is recessed for more than 36 hours, you cannot reconvene without a 18 hour notice.

[Hanks] What is the operationalization of “special meeting”?

[Siewert] Any meeting that is not on the schedule.

[Hanks] What about when they have not met in a long time

[Siewert] When you call a special meeting, that is all you can talk about.

[Hanks] How responsible is the governmental body to make it

[Siewert] That is in the notice.  It should be made clear that this is all the meeting is about.

[O’Donnell] If we post a special meeting on a specific topic, can we change the agenda later?

[Siewert] No, because the public would not be expecting that.  You can call it for multiple items but it cannot be called for multiple reason.  People like to put “and any other such topics” but that is really a general meeting.  You should not really be discussing it at all.  This is true in general under new business.  You may have a new idea, but no taking final action, “I would like to put on the agenda that we should be doing x, I would like to have a report on y.”

Emergency sessions may be held if public health or safety is being threatened, and 2/3 must vote.  Any time you take away the rights of members, you need 2/3.  Same for open meetings.

Citizens may request a mailing list and be charged a reasonable fee.  Media may not be charged.

Minutes must be kept of all meetings and must be kept for review and copying.

Freedom of Information Act is the regulation under which I can request information but the public body can request fees.

Draft minutes must be available for public inspection from 8 business days, approved minutes within 5 business days from which they are approved.   Must show both the original entry and the correction.  What they do more often is to do backspace-delete.  You cannot actually do that on public body minutes.  You must show what the

[Twomey] Do they need to be put online or just available?

[Siewert] Many communities do put it out as draft online.

[Mueller] For how long do organizations hold minutes?

[Siewert] For open minutes, forever.  There are beautiful systems for cataloging and indexing.  I have, if you haven’t noticed, incredible admiration for clerks.

With six exceptions, all meetings must be held in open session.  The easiest way is to hold all openly.

You can get into so much trouble so fast that it is desirable to try to begin by doing everything openly.

Even where there is closed session, you must vote publicly to call it.

[Baker] In the motion you must say what you are going to talk about, right.

[Siewert] Yes, you must say what you are going to talk about and only that.  It is helpful to have somebody always to say …

1.  If requested by the named person to consider dismissal, suspension or disciplining of, or hear of complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation of, a public officer or employee.

The person who you are going to discuss has the right to say, “I want it in closed session.”

One you allow it to be an open session, the person cannot change his/her mind.

[Butters] What if the governmental organization wants it to be private?

[Siewert] That is not what the law says.  There are times when council can say

[Twomey] What if the person does not know they are being discussed?

[Siewert] You have to say why you are going into closed session.  Everyone has grievance procedures.  You would have right to know.  You cannot just go into closed session and decide to discuss somebody who has not been informed.

[Mueller] A person would have been warned ahead of time.

2. For strategy and negotiation connected with negotiation of collective bargaining agreement if

You cannot just go into closed session to discuss labor issues in general.  One of the things about closed session is that you are not supposed to talk about what happens there.  In the southern part of the state, the council said, you can give them 1% and go to 2% if need be and raised the cost.  One person revealed it and was later sued for the cost, though it was not acted on legally.

3. To consider purchase or lease of real property, up to the time that the option to purchase or lease is obtained.

[Siewert] That is because if you want to purchase property, you do not want everybody to know.

Note that each time, you have to go back into open session and tell what you are going to do.  If you want to fire the city manager, you have to do it in open session.  There will be a day when somebody will move “I move we purchase the property” which must be in open session.

4. To consult with an attorney with regard to specific pending legislation and only if an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position.  You cannot meet until somebody actually files a lawsuit.

5. To review or consider application for employment if the candidate requests that it be confidential.  Candidates may request confidentiality until the point of the process.  Interview by a public body must be held in a public meeting.  Once you get down to the final candidates, those must be held in an open meeting.

6. To consider material exempt from discussion by state and federal statute, such as bonding issues and some other questions.

[Siewert] You must call a closed session from an open meeting.  A 2/3 roll call vote is required, except for discipline, personnel application which require only a majority vote.  The purpose for calling the closed session must be in the minute of the meeting.  Once you go there, that is all you can talk about.

Normally one of the members of the public body moves to return to open session. That can be very informal.

[Landry] It is their responsibility to call the meeting back into order.

[Siewert] What they should do is to call for a closed session after adjournment so that nobody has to sit and wait.  “I move that when we adjourn we adjourn to go into closed session.”  That is a courtesy they should be taking.  Sometimes it is necessary to have a closed meeting in the midst of an open meeting, but not as often as you might think.

If you do not intend to come back, adjourn to go into closed session.  But then once you adjourn, you cannot come back.

Minutes of a closed session.  The open meetings act requires that a separate set of minutes.  That includes date, time, place, members present, and topic of discussion.  Sometimes “if direction was given” can also be included.  The only ones who can see them are those who were.  The minutes can only be disclosed if required by court action.

The minutes may be destroyed one year and one day after the approval of the regular minutes of the minutes at which the closed meeting were approved.  This is standard practice and most do not approve them.

Is it a meeting? If email is used for substantive discussion, then it may be considered a meeting.  Did they passively receive emails or did they actively exchange of emails showing an intent to deliberate.

When you look at the open meetings act, the word subcommittee is in there.  Sometimes they say “let’s appoint a sub-quorum committee” but that does not exempt them because it is in the act.

Committees and subcommitees must follow the act unless it is for an action of tribute or memorial.

[Twomey] What do we do when a fourth person comes to meetings?

[Siewert] The new MASB is not as good as it has been in the past, but…  If the non-committee member can come and not say anything.

[Pfleger] Can the “chance member” say anything?

[Siewert] Elected officials don’t have two hats anymore.  They don’t have the ability to say “I’m not a private citizen”.  In one event a member of a council came to a committee meeting and asked a question.

A board may want to add a disclaimer that they board members may attend, but that they are only there as observers and not for the purpose of deliberating.

Why not just post all of them as if they are full meeting?  Then every council member who did not attend the meeting would be listed as “absent.”

[Deegan-Krause] What about a committee meeting in closed session?  Can another member show up?

[Siewert] That would be a problem.  But I am not familiar with sub-quorum bodies that meet in closed session.  That would be unusual.

Committees that contain no members of the public body can be subject to the open meetings act on appointed committees.  Elected or appointed.

Even if there is not a quorum of a public body.  A citizens committee do discuss whether to build a new library would still be responsible for following the open meetings act.

[Butters]  Doesn’t the governor have a committee like that that claims not to have to follow the open meetings act?

[Siewert] I told them not to do it but they did it anyway.

Multiple sub-quorum committees.  Construct quorum violates the open meetings act.  Sometimes what you think is alright isn’t.  You think you are avoiding it but you aren’t really.

It is best to do it in the open unless it meets one of the

Suits may be brought.  Those who bring them may be paid court costs and attorney fees and the act may be invalidated. It must happen within 60 days of the approval of the minutes.  An act may be redone if done improperly.

Criminal misdemeanor penalties against those who intentionally violate the act.  They can also be subject to personal liability, court costs and attorney’s fees.  One of the best known is the city of Vassar.  The process of calling the meetings act was correct, but what they were discussing was not.   One of six members wanted to keep the meeting open.

Questions:

What did you have in your mind that I did not cover?

[Van der Weele] : What I gleaned today is how it protects the elected official if done right.  It protects them and the integrity their work.

[Siewert] If you get charged with an open meetings act violation, that lasts.  Sometimes you get charged and the court says no, but you still have that feeling.  Lots of communities are very careful with the OMA.  They say “the last thing we need is for somebody to question what we are doing.”

[Butters] When I was first trained how to be a reporter, one thing I remember was a card, a cheat sheet, that had to do with challenging a governmental body at the time.  Often we are challenging in retrospect.  Have you heard of anything like that for Michigan?

[Siewert] I have not, but I like it.  People do stand up and do what you are mentioning.

[Butters] What is an appropriate response on the part of the governmental body in a case where there are problems?

[Siewert] Pause.  Ask an attorney.

There was an example.  A city council can go out hand have drinks, go to conferences.  But in one case, four city council members decided to divide up the planning board members and call them to do this.  They had been deliberating toward a decision.  If any one of them individually had called planning board member, that would have been all right.  The question of splitting up the names had a lot of effect.

[Farrah] To whom does this act apply?

[Siewert] Governments are different from non-profits and it is important to understand the difference [followed by lengthy explanation]

[O’Donnell] Once the rules are written, can you apply them differently to different citizens?

[Siewert] No.  They must be applied evenly….

Across the state there is a strong bias toward increasing participation.  More communities ask me about how to facilitate conversation than about how to curtail it.  The question about “does it make the meetings longer” is a good one but they usually don’t.  And the other question is “will the public get out of control”.  But, let’s face it, the public does not get out of control.  Two minutes is pretty much enough for everybody.

[Van der Weele] Can a public body judge whether a person is suitable for speaking based on whether they are redundant, repetitive, etc.

[Siewert] It does say you can have rules for the conduct of public business.  In my community there are rules about no swearing, no calling out.  There are rules for setting a more civil tone.  But by the time something has been demonstrated as redundant or repetitive, it has already been said.

[Butters] At what point is it … whose responsibility is it to make sure that everyone knows the rules.

[Siewert] Many groups have rules that they hand out at the door.

One of the characteristics of public disputes is that we do have a few of the same people who come to meetings all the time.  The rest of them are therefore the first time and do not know the rules.

[Bellamy] Is it appropriate to say that the comments can’t be repetitive, or have a hostile tone?

[Siewert] It’s kind of useless.  Because everybody thinks what they have to say is non-repetitive and not-hostile.  It is useful to alternate pros and cons if possible, to say “we have had so may speak in favor” so “who wants to speak opposed.”

[Van der Weele] Is there anything that would put a limit on public comments?

[Baker] In Ferndale, we let 30 minutes at the beginning and let the other comments happen at the end.

[Siewert] If somebody is going to get up and malign an employee, that is wrong.  That can be gaveled right away.

[Van der Weele] What if it applies to the person? What is legitimate for a board to say, stop right there.

[Siewert] Personal threat…

[Pfleger] We have said that if you have an issue with a teacher or staff, we insist that it be held in private so that the person can deal with it in private.

[Siewert] The mood of the elected body always has to be “We want to hear what you have to say.”  Certainly that is true of the community colleges these days.  People come with focuses on training.  In cities we often hear very good suggestions for the use of parks and traffic.

[Landry] When in our past incident, couldn’t the entire board speak up?  Did everybody on the board have a right to speak or was it only the chair?  Some members of the board may have felt they did not have a right to speak.

[Siewert] No, everybody had a right to call that at the time.  If nobody else spoke, I would say that was an awfully calm board.  I never had a board that way.

[Butters] Just to clarify, she was not told that she could not speak, she was told she should wait.

[Siewert]  This is a question where you want to ask are there are adopted rules that are clear to everyone.  If there is the 30-minute rule, that’s ok.  If it is not clear, then that is unfair.  You need to say it or have it written.  The problem is the playing the game and not knowing what the rules are.

So go forth and be public!

Boardwatch: Notes from the September 24 School Board Meeting

September 26, 2012

As always, here are my notes from the meeting.  This meeting was a bit tense and so my notes may be sketchier than normal, but I have tried to represent what is spoken without omission or addition that would change the nature of the discussion.

1. Call to Order, 7:00 p.m.

1.1.    Roll Call

1.2.    Pledge of Allegiance

Additional agenda item

I am State Representative [Rudy Hobbs] a member of the the education committee to talk about some of the things that we have been working on lately, Senate Bill 618 and 619 allowing expansions of charter schools regardless of quality.  I’m a former school board member and teacher and understand how our decisions affect you.  My staff wrote talking points about how school boards and school districts are under siege, but I said that we do not need to tell school boards that.  Among those was bill 620, the parent trigger bill, would allow parents of persistently low-achieving schools, the bottom 5%, parents are notified that they can turn that school into a charter school.  This will probably be taken up during the lame duck session.  Right now on this I am a “no”.  I try to make things about good schools and bad schools.  How do we ensure that the best charter school possible takes over the school, not another bad charter school.  How do we allow parents to vote on this, to decide this.  House Bill 5923 introduced by a representative from Grand Rapids, which would “offer more choice” but the details are unclear.  It opens up a portion of the school act and says that new forms of schools can be authorized if they have expressed the role of the following, “globally competitive school, municipality-authorized schools, corporation-authorized schools, international schools with cooperation with other nations, a “teacher-run” school.  If a corporation decides to sponsor a school, let’s say Lear Corporation, sponsors a school that is heavy on STEM, do they get school aid dollars.  There is a lot going on about education.

[Warnick] It is always fun.

[Kerr-Mueller] When/how should voters contact their representative

[Hobbs]  Google House Bill HB 5923 and you can take a look at the bill.  The summary is not available yet.  The representative for Ferndale is Ellen Cogen-Lipton.  Or call me: 517-373-1788.

[Warnick] Another part of the trigger is that the school district has to rent the facility to the charter for $1, and the schools get full FTE.

[Moeser] Is it true that we could not recoup our operating expensese.

[Hobbs] The school district could—by the intent of the legislator—be the authorizer of the school.  There are some things that schools are required to do: all new staff, etc.  We want to give an option to parents.  They do this in California but they have yet to do any.

[McLaughlin] You say “a parent” but is it just one parent?

[Hobbs] It is 60% of the parent, and a potentially a part of the teachers.  There could be an education management organization that could help parents to do this.  The good news is that the last day of session is on Thursday so there are no committee days so little opportunity for anybody to do any damage, but I will encourage people watching this to give representatives a call.

[Pfleger] Just a comment as I do any time anybody from the state comes in, I just want to point out that the state has changed its fiscal year so that it is out of sync with schools so that we are always in debt from the beginning.

[Hobbs] This is a good time to do it.  You don’t get the money until when, October.  When schools fund balance is being drained, schools face that problem.

[Warnick] Anything on the personal property tax.

[Hobbs] To be honest with you I hear that they are going to bring that up in lame duck also, but I have not received any details on that.  I’m not sure what that means for Ferndale, but for Southfield, that is a big hit, $800k for the schools, $7 million for Southfield.  It may not be an initial hit, because they may put some money in there to compensate, but it will be a long-term hit.

[Warnick] Always nice to see you, thanks a lot.

1.3          District Architect Bill Weinrock of TMP.  I am here to talk about the 2012 Bond Projects.

They are completing the punchlist and we withhold the funds until the punchlist is complete:

  • Next project is guardrails in the High School and the Admin
  • The High School was not finished when schools started session and they have gotten it pretty well complete.
  • Jefferson Center, the ceilings are complete.  Punchlist has been issued.
  • Bus garage roof is complete.
  • Waterproofing project, will be finished this week.
  • Roosevelt stonework.  That is in the same condition.  We ran into some wall conditions that we were not comfortable with.  They will be back working weekends so they will not disrupt school.  They will be pulling stone off the building and putting it back.
  • Roosevelt floor.  This ran into a delivery delay which caused issues and it was determined that there were issues with it being applied to plywood.  The manufacturers determined that the underlayment was not installed correctly according to the manufacturer.  The contractor tried to cut corners and it did not work.  The manufacturer has given direction (was on site) and the contractor will be providing an appropriate underlayment.  We have been taking step that the contractor and manufacturer are both involved in the process.  The flooring and the subfloor will be approved by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer guarantees a successful project.  The have worked out all the issues but we are looking at a 2 week delay for the project.
  • Roosevelt toilet rooms are finished successfully.
  • Kennedy school bathroom has punchlist problems because of a wrong-sized mirror
  • High School bathrooms, we are working diligently to get those complete because of subcontractor issues which have forced them to start working at night, but they have been installed incorrectly.  The north toilets will be complete before the dance this weekend.  We will be working on the south set to make sure that the same mistakes are not made (and same subcontractors) and those toilets will remain closed until then.

[Pfleger] I’ve seen the north toilet room and chatting with them and it seems like the people you’ve got there now really know what they’re doing, but it is really disappointing.  Hopefully for the next set of projects.  Unfortunately for the district, the project fell apart about 2 weeks before the school year started.  In the scrambling to complete because of ceramic tile problems, things were mounted incorrectly.  In the end I believe that the construction will meet everybody’s standards.

[Warnick] I made my annual vision to the high school with Lisa.  What is installed really looks nice but the wrong things in the wrong spot.  Hopefully we can get it done as you said by the dance this weekend.

  • The future work the 2013 Summer work is currently in the design phase.  We are taking all of the projects and creating one large bidding process that we can sit with the principals, administrators and stakeholders.  Our intention is to have those meetings take place in October and November so that the bidding can take place in January and February.  George Auck is involved and will be doing the specifics.  Also next summer will be kitchens at Roosevelt and University High School.  More definitive schedules and timelines will go to Gary Meier.
  • [Meier] I think he covered it very well.  The Roosevelt and High School projects have been problematic and I want thank bill and our counsel John Carlson for moving our contractor on this.  I think it is better to get it right than just to get it done.  As problematic as that may be from an aesthetic perspective at Roosevelt and an operations perspective at the high school, I think everybody will be satisfied.

Presenters

Nick Zajas, Ferndale Educational Association

  • First of all, I would like to thank the board for rehiring all of the core program teachers.  But 13 of our alternative education teachers were not hired back, 5 of whom were tenured teachers.  Our teachers are beginning to be excited about data teams.  Working with the staff about the Digital Learning Center, it is a breath of fresh air.  Students seem to be very receptive, the staff and director are just phenomenal at this point.  It is fun, and labor intensive.  It is very rewarding.  Thank you to the board for taking the initiative.

Ferndale Student Representatives

  • Alexis Thompson from UHS.  It is great to be back in school.  My senior year is here.    Last week we had our welcome back week for Freshmen and Sophomores.  We had a pizza sale and watermelon eating contest.  We have a series of activities: Automotive, robotics, girls web design, college night.
  • Shannon Santos, Ferndale High School.  I am a senior at Ferndale School.  We have school improvement Mondays like every other school in the district.  We just started our fall play last week.  It is called Bus Stop, but I can’t wait to go see it.  At curriculum night, 120 families were attended and 16% of students.  Spirit week is this week and the Homecoming will be on Saturday.  Football game is Friday and we play Royal Oak.
  • [Warnick: for years I’ve been wanting the theater group to do Tommy.

Karen McElgun

  • 550 W. Maplehurst.  I have a son in the middle school, 8th grade and a daughter at Kennedy and I wanted to talk to you about the perception of our school district in our community and our neighboring communities.  I am sure that a lot of us Ferndale parents have to justify why we have our children going here.  I have had a close relative ask where and when I said Ferndale, say “you’re wasting your child” and it wasn’t just him.  People in other suburbs don’t get asked this in Rochester and Gross Pointe.  At a Well-Child checkup with is doctor, the doctor asked how school was going.  My child said he was not being child.  The doctor asked “why aren’t you sending him to Berkley”.  I was shocked and said that Berkley offered us nothing that Ferndale doesn’t. She then suggested Birmingham, Liggett and she continued that there were scholarships available.  This all happened at a time when I had a neighbor they emptied their stuff out of their house and moved to Grosse Pointe.  On my street 4 families have moved and we cannot afford this perception.

Erika Pratt

[Pratt]I’m Erika Pratt, I live at…

[Warnick]Hold on, I need a topic

[Pratt] Follow-up.

[Warnick]Follow up on what? On a previous discussion?

[Pratt]I’m a homeowner in the district.  I’ve rented out my house and moved to another district and I just wanted to offer some thoughts about the district].

[Warnick] OK, we have other business to conduct and we will reserve time for your comments at the end of the meeting if there is time.

[Pratt] Am I being told I cannot speak because I did not get my paper in on time.

[Warnick] Sit down and wait.

[Here my notes break down.  The whole exchange was the previous exchange and so I did not make accurate measures of the next 10 minutes or so]

5. Communications, Stephanie Hall

[Hall] We are coming to the end of the …

  • We are all participating in the entire district’s expo for Metro Parent Magazine
  • Our marketing program for the Digital High School are continuing up to count day.
  • We have stepped up our on-ground marketing for the DLC to recruit students who might not be in school yet.
  • It feels like we’re finally into a close there.
  • The district newsletter has changed.  We have been focusing on how parents can
  • Zangle is now called MyStar.  They can pay for their lunches in Advance.  There is also a button called Pay Schools
  • Enrollment at Jefferson Center which his now exclusively for adults.  The atmosphere has changed there and they really enjoy the new
  • The Career Center saw 2800 customers which is last than last month and last year but

6. Deputy Superintendent’s Report, Henry Gold

  • Discussion of appointments to committees
  • The Personnel committee was advised of two resignations.  And that three teachers will be earning tenure during the month of October:  Matt Malone, math teacher at the middle school, Amanda Miller, elementary teacher at Roosevelt, and Kiata Watts who works in the preschool program at Grant
  • The committee was updated about legislative …
  • Amy Crandall who is our Human Resources Manager has been selected to serve on the executive board of the Oakland Association of School Personnel Administrators.  It is an honor to be selected to this and I wanted the board to be aware of the honor.

Attachment C is an email from AFSCME detailing agreement the 2012-2015 school years

  • Motion: Pfleger, Second: McLaughlin.  Motion passes unanimously

Approval of resignation of two teachers

  • Motion: [Didn’t catch this]
  • [Pfleger] It is nice to see that though people are moving on that they are saying nice things about teachers and staff and not leaving because they do not like it here.
  • Motion passes unanimously

Approval of motion to approve academic case managers

  • Motion: Moeser, Second: McLaughlin, Motion passes unanimously

Approval of motion to approve 13 new teachers in K-12.  Interviewed by team of teachers and or myself and the superintendent

  • Motion: Kerr-Mueller, Second: Pfleger
  • [Warnick about 1/3 are from Roosevelt.  There has been quite a bit of turnover there for personal reasons.  And there have been some additions there]
  • Motion passes unanimously

7. Curriculum and Instruction report, Barb Evoe

  • We are enrolling our Little Eagles.  We moved it
  • Renee Heard.  I would just like to talk about the progress of the Digital Learning Center.  I appreciate the board coming through on the walkthrough.
    • We have hired a significant number of staff.  They are passionate individuals working hard to build relationships with our students and figuring out what makes students tick.  It has been great to see them build the school that they are part of.  During the first two weeks that they are tired, they were given intensive training on technology, a module called DLC101, they have created their own school culture.  We have commented on how different the school feels, how positive the environment.  Staff are getting training between 4 and 6.  Staff are teaching one another.  One of the great things is how we have rethought the role of teacher.  We have successfully established partnerships with Gleaners, Small Trasures, Substance Abuse support and the Career center.  And we have those who have recommended our program and the 1-1 personal attention.  We have a 2-day intensive orientation, looking at their own transcripts and creating their own plans.
    • Right now all of them are participating in DLC 101 which is teaching students how to be successful in our program, a powerpoint for the Acronym PRIDE.  They are doing work on Publisher, working on Microsoft Word, and for some young people who don’t even know how to save a file, they are getting everything they need.  We are continuing to enroll students focusing on creating a positive learning environment.  There are many homebound students that we are not capable of offering services to.  We as a district are now able to provide services to a variety of students.  I am extremely proud of my staff and our collaborations.  It could not have resulted in what it did without them. Of all the schools I’ve started, this is one of the smoothest starts.  We appreciate your support and it has gone incredibly well.
    • [Warnick] As things progress, are you thinking about more opportunities down the road.
    • [Heard] We have formed a committee called DLC version 2.0 to look at the next version of the program.  What does it mean for a student to take community college classes, vocation and interest-based learning.  Innovative certifications and credentials that would allow students to have family-sustaining wages while they are finishing the program.
    • [Warnick] There are a lot of potential video learning offerings?  Are we melding any outside
    • [Heard]  The academic case managers have created only one module, DLC 101.   But others contain significant online modules and simulations.
    • Professional development was a big focus this summer.  We trained everybody on data teams. We spent two days training everybody.  We provided more than 20 hours of training for administrators.  Before administrators lead data teams, we work with them to review what they will do in their data teams.  We have focused priorities for the teams.  We are using common core so it is another.  People think that these are big standardized tests but they are not.  They are small-scale in-class assessments.   We are doing end-goal oriented design, so-called backward design.  With our second graders we are working on understanding the author’s purpose.  Our next step will be standardizing the scoring and calibrating, understanding what is good enough.

[Pfleger] Given that JFK is a focus school, are you seeing any differences.

[Evoe] Right now, no but as we move forward it will.  JFK overall, because it is a focus school.  The data teams mean that we could not have been better positioned at dealing with these questions.

We worked with administrators on state accountability system.

We did have a reward school, Ferndale High School, because their growth in performance rate:  1) percent proficient, 2) growth, 3) gap between highest achieving and lowest, then those are put together for a score, and in that sense it was in the top 5%.  They have had four years of consistent growth in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.  That is one of the reasons they are in the top 5%.  They are bringing all students along.  They are bringing all students.  The purpose of doing that was they can focus on what.

[Warnick] Aren’t there only 12 reward schools in all of Oakland county?

We continued to implement the common core.  We are part of the Oakland county writing team…  Once we are done, we will be bringing them to the board.

School Improvement. We brought to the program and technology committee our plans.  The principals were present and they highlighted their own plans.  Renee was present and she highlighted the process.  We did that because this year we want everyone to know where the grant funding is going.  Roosevelt will have a math coach….  These are all Title 1 funded initiatives to increase student achievements.

[McLaughlin] Do we ever offer and tape our professional development for teachers to take advantage of later]

[Evoe] Part of the benefit is the richness of the conversation.  But that is certainly something we can think about.  We had a conversation about all three plans.  There was a discussion about the climate of the middle school.  After a nice discussion it was concluded that the committee could support the plan.  But these will be updated over the course of the year.  I’ve talked to Ms. Warren and she will be doing an monthly newsletter by email and text.  She reports they had a fabulous kickoff.

[Warnick] I also visited the middle school too.  She was pretty excited about the middle schools and that some issues they had last year have gone away.

[Twomey] I would like to move item 7.3

[McLaughlin] What is the nature of the problem.

[Kerr-Mueller] I second

[McLaughlin] What is the issue

[Twomey] Since the thing has already been approved.

[McLaughlin] We do the same thing for resignation

[Twomey] Are the timelines giving the committee members the opportunity for authentic discussion.

[McLaughlin] Is it uploaded and final?

[Evoe] Karen is right.  They were not final.  They were uploaded but not due.  School improvement no longer stands alone.  We used to be able to write the school improvement plan without accounting for every grant dollar.  We did not used to have to account for that.  The state gives us a tentative amount.  We start planning with the principals and doing another component that emerged last year which is a school data profile.  We gather teachers and administrators for the data profile, a 35 page document.  For the first time it linked to myschooldata.org.  We needed people to understand that, so we are getting that data piece, a rough allocation of our grant, so they are putting those pieces together and asking what are we using our funding for, to shore up our funding sources.  So we are trying to get all of these together.  For us to even think about considering our application, we have to have our plans drafted out.  Then we have to submit a compilation of that and we submit that.  And then we can still work on their school improvement plans once those are uploaded to the state.  That finite exchange of the grant with the work of the schools is new.  We did not have to be that precise.  This year we did upload them, but when we upload them, all we do is push a button to pull them back.  On one hand Karen is right about people not understanding that. The other thing is that Karen is right, you do not have to approve them.  Me being me, I wanted your support, to have you read them, support them and ask questions.

[Twomey] The issue was the financial ties?  Did this also go to the financial committee.

[Evoe] it is an educational decision.  Schools are obligated to complete the data. Schools have to find the strategies that they will use.

[Twomey] Like many other items, it is an informational item.

[McLaughlin]

[Moeser] There is a difference between approval of and support of.  It is nice for us to know about them.  I think these are very very important.  Why did they come from the committee to us in this form.

[Pfleger] We had a very spirited discussion about a number of items.  As a school board member, Karen, I would say I don’t do anything more than look at those plans.  This is the reason all of us are on the board.  How do we make sure that kids get a better education.  I still think this is a good thing to discuss them, have community improvement, discuss them, take that in put back and say “hey it’s a living document” and we can update it and say “we’re tweaking this.”  And we had that discussion about approval versus support, but at the end of the day I think we should vote in support, or if we are not we need to say that and send it back to Barb and the board, even though that is not required.

[Warnick] Just as with combination of programs at Kennedy because it was an administrative choice because we do support.

[Twomey] I agree with what you are saying, but when the conversation came that to “not support it” would be to “not support teachers.” Knowing all the work that the school has been doing, to just be able to support them and suggest additions, that is supportive.  It was made very clear that “people who do not vote yes are voting against teachers.”

[Meier] I think you are referring to the explanation that I had, probably not as well as I could, that the building improvement process is completed at the building level and that it includes not just teachers but also administrators and also parents.  When that plan is put together, what happens is in many districts, it is considered a collaborative effort and uploaded to the state.  From a financial perceptive, what we think of as finances as revenue in and expenses out.  My point to the committee is that what I was trying to say was that to withdraw the plan would not have demonstrated to that school improvement team the credibility of the work that they are assigned to do.  I clearly believe that the comments made at that meeting are statements that Barb and her staff have taken back and incorporate and will have an impact.  What I believed at that meeting and what I believe tonight is that it is important to give that credibility to the teams.  We could just provide those as information.  We have done it differently here.  We have asked the committee to provide information but not by virtue of lack of support to pull them back.  Regardless of that support, we have the obligation to submit that.  I want to make it clear that it has nothing to not supporting teachers but to supporting that process.

[Twomey] I am just not clear that this is role in here.

[Stroker] The actual resolution says support.

[Twomey] I am not opposed to supporting, but I thought it was worthy of support.

[Twomey] You will change the agenda?

[Stroker] It will have that in there.

Motion: Pfleger, Second: McLaughlin (support of each of the school improvement plans).  Motion passes unanimously.

8. Technology Services Report, Melissa Auchter

  • The first item I wanted to update you on was the laptops.  Most of the acms have their laptops; some of the students have them in the building.  We are still continuing to create the modules, we have them in varying states of approval.  We are still moving forward on that.  As part of the network updates and the bond updates, we are putting wireless in temporarily.  Our first phase, replace all network electronics, is complete.  We are excited about that, it has made our job easier.  We are moving to 10gb speed (currently at 1gb speed).  We can update the fiber in the High School because they are in the tunnels.  We will start working with administrators to get the wireless in.  I included a picture of one of our updates.  We took everything out of those and replaced it all.  At the same time we are also starting to work on scope of work for the projectors.  That will take a little more design.
  • We are also continuing to do the inventory for the city of Ferndale.  We put that aside to start school but we are working on it now.
  • We are working on a replacement for board recording options.  I presented options at the policy committee meeting.

[Twomey] for the sake of the audience, do you want to explain.

[Auchter] Some days it works and other days it doesn’t.  We had a couple of technical issues back there.  Our equipment is old.  We are looking to replace the mike and get rid of the tape, upgrade the camera.  Right now we can only broadcast over cable.  We want to i

[McLaughlin] What is the cost associated with the upgrade, $18-26,000.  Like all the other technology projects, we figure out what we need to have done.  When we have budget available.  Are we taking money away form a priority-thing to do this non-priority thing.  We are working on a solution that we can put in the budget.  It doesn’t change our plan.  It just changes the timing of the plan.

[Pfleger] Will you bring this to the technology committee meeting.

[Auchter] When we have a solution, that integrates the video and the pdf.

[Pfleger] I hear constantly half the voices are off camera all the time.

[Auchter] They are all analog.

9. Superintendent’s Report, Gary Meier

[Meier]: Just a quick review of policy committee meetings.  We had two special meetings, one on August 13 and another on August 27.  So I have listed the topics for discussion.  Melissa has already talked about the video, but the committee did also discuss narrowing the differences in scope so we can get an apples to apples comparison and references.   Since project innovations in particular does work with municipalities more than schools, we would like to get references from school board members for MASB and city council members for Project Innovations and consider next steps which could ultimately be a presentation to the full board, sooner rather than later.  We also had a discussion about superintendent evaluation and timelines.  We will address that at the next meeting.  We talked about policies related to bringing in your own devices and campaigning at board meetings.  Are there any questions about the policy meeting.

[Twomey] We just want to determine a list of questions and I would love nothing more than to have your questions for that before the next policy meeting.

[Warnick] It would not be appropriate for me to do it as well because I am on the board of MASB.

Operations Committee: we took a tour of all buildings.

[Pfleger] Would you ask people to stop taking pictures sideways.  It is hard to read.

The only action item is to approve committee charges, memberships, and so on.  The one item we ask the board to act on every year is to approve the committee charges for the coming year.  They are included in attachments C and F for this year and appointment by the chair of committee members.

Motion: [I missed this.]  Passed unanimously.

Appointment by the Board President of committee members

Moved: Pfleger, second: Twomey

[Pfleger] Thanks to community members.  It is great to have community involvement.

Passed unanimously.

10. Board Members Suggestions, Comments, Reports

  •  [Pfleger] I would like to move to extend the rules to allow Ms. Pratt extra time since she has been kind enough to wait.  Instead of three minutes,
  • [Warnick] (Reading from sheet) Feedback on items I tried to address and stress
  • [Pratt] I would like to thank the United States of America for the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.  It was a short and tumultuous time that I had with Ferndale schools.  I did a radio ad for you.  We have moved to a new district, and it confirmed the value and importance of the things I tried to bring to your attention.  There is something to be said for polite helpful staff in all aspects of the district.  I was critical of our entry into the district and discuss the fact that basic things that I never got when I was in the Ferndale school district.  Our new experience was so smooth and I just wanted to share that with you.  I also got a survey from the superintendent in the first week.  Small things like that.  It feels good to be in a district where I do not have to be a cranky-pants complainer.  I love Ferndale.  The district has a lot of distractions, looking for land, the contractual ICE business, alternative ed.  It doesn’t feel as if there was enough support coming to your principals.  I got the 5 big reasons for coming to the schools.  You are marketing and focusing on low-income families, you are giving people a lot of reason to .  You are going after Wayne County, you are going after non-residents.  We tried Little Eagles and were disappointed.  I encourage you to have courageous conversations about race, about socio-economic levels.  Diversity does not exist in some of the schools.  You obviously did not want to hear my comments.  It is discouraging.  I wish the Ferndale schools the best and I think it is time for a bold new direction.

[Collins]: I do not have any communications

[Kerr-Mueller]: I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Middle school.  It’s not so much an anti-bullying program as a pro-compassion program.  I have volunteered to set up an after-school program on this.

[Twomey]: I’m disheartened by what was expressed by Ms. Pratt.  That is not what we want for our district.  I am looking forward to the fall and all the fall events.

[Pfleger]: Bus Stop is the play.  It is a play about a diner/bus stop where people get stuck.  We are starting to look at set construction.  This is a student-led production.  They like as much help as they can get as well.  Marching band had their first competition.  They did very well and scored a 68, which is a good score for 1st time out.

[Warnick] Different flight from last year?

[Pfleger]: New schools have joined our flight who are solid players.

[McLaughlin]: Nothing

[Collins]:  I did the Roosevelt family fun day.  Good thing the floors weren’t finished because we were playing tug-of-war.  I attended the HS, MS PTA meeting. Ms. Warren spoke to what a great beginning of the year they were having.  They have a new system on phone use which makes it clear.  This Friday is homecoming.  Come on down and watch the game and the band will play at halftime.

[Warnick]: I just want to than Representatives Hobbs.  Secondly I took a visit to the high school.  We have seen a pretty good change in the climate.    I enjoyed visiting the schools.  I put a couple of things at the table.  Spirit of community awards.

MASB, public education believes in me.  We want to highlight graduates of public schools who have gone on to do amazing things.  The example from many years ago, Jim Blanchard, who went to our schools.

11. Future Board Meetings: October 15. 9:36 Adjourned.