Michigan Education

Education is a big issue in northern Michigan, whether we're reporting on school funding issues to breakthroughs in the classroom.

St. Joseph Public Schools

Northern Michigan’s largest school district is one step closer to hiring a new superintendent. On Monday, the board for Traverse City Area Public Schools voted unanimously for Ann Cardon to proceed to the final round.

Cardon has 10 years of superintendent experience and is the current head of St. Joseph Public Schools downstate.

"I like the fact that she’s basically done everything, teacher, principal, leader and she’s been involved with finance and with unions," TCAPS Board Member Doris Ellery says.

Dan Wanschura

More than 50 Michigan counties will hold elections Tuesday, May 7. School funding is the focus of most of them.

Benzie County Central Schools district is asking voters to approve $47.8 million for a new elementary building and an addition to the middle and high school. Ludington, Kingsley and Leland school districts also have bond requests.

Kalkaska County wants to improve the Kaliseum Recreational Complex. It’s asking for a 1.5 mill increase to its facilities millage.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

The state Attorney General’s Office is trying to show that the former Michigan State University president lied to investigators to protect the university.

Lou Anna Simon was in court Monday for the second day of a hearing to determine whether Simon should stand trial for charges that she lied to law enforcement.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

After 17 students were shot and killed in Parkland, Florida last year, Benzie County wanted to make their schools safer. They decided to address that by putting cops in their schools, and taxpayers agreed to pay for it. That sounds like a good thing but it turns out it was more complicated than it seemed.

 

Benzie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Miller started in the schools in January. He serves 1,400 students in the Benzie County Central Schools district and deals with any criminal activity.

Morgan Springer

Traverse City Area Public Schools could catch a $700,000 break related to a review of its homeschool program.

The Michigan Department of Education is currently reviewing that homeschool program, the Northern Michigan Partnership, to see if TCAPS collected too much money per students. If that’s what they determine, they could ask the district to pay roughly $700,000 back to the state.

But a spending package passed by the legislature early Friday morning included grant money to cover that cost.

David Cassleman

The head of Traverse City schools has announced he will leave the district. TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma says he’ll retire from the position summer 2019.

Soma made the announcement in a letter to the TCAPS community Thursday. He expressed gratitude for the 17 years he’s spent with the school district.

"Of course, this has not been an easy decision," Soma wrote in the letter. "Please know that this decision comes after much reflection, deliberation and consultation."

Morgan Springer

A culture of fear was at the heart of a board meeting for Glen Lake Community Schools Monday night. There were around a hundred people in attendance and most public comments addressed the culture and teacher dissatisfaction in the district.

David Cassleman

The superintendent of Traverse City schools was praised for his leadership last night. The Traverse City Area Public Schools board rated Paul Soma “highly effective” during his annual evaluation.

The evaluation lasted about two hours and happened behind closed doors. No one from the public was there when the TCAPS board came out of closed session and read aloud the superintendent's top marks. Soma scored four - the highest possible score - in almost every category, including student growth and community and staff relations. His final score was 3.885 or 97 percent, which corresponds with a rating of "highly effective."


Ludington Area Schools will put a bond before voters for new buildings and major renovations. The school board moved forward with a $101 million proposal this week.

Lou Anna K. Simon sits with one of her attorneys, Lee Silver.
Cheyna Roth

The former president of Michigan State University was arraigned on Monday on felony and misdemeanor charges surrounding her involvement with the school’s handling of serial sexual predator, Larry Nassar.

Morgan Springer

Voters mostly rejected a group of candidates campaigning as a team for the Traverse City school board. Team 5 TCAPS candidates ran on a similar platform, calling for more transparency and accountability in the district, but only one of the five candidates – Erica Moon Mohr – was elected Tuesday.

Morgan Springer

The Mesick Consolidated Schools bond has failed again. This was the third time the district asked the community for more money for schools. The $13.7 million plan was to build an elementary school wing on the high school, upgrade technology and enhance security.

Judy Myers is 71. She doesn't have any grandkids in the district, but she voted for the bond.

"If we can pay for seniors to have a senior center," says Myers, "we can have a school for the kids."

But more people agreed with Cindy Short, who voted against it.

Morgan Springer

The leader of Traverse City’s school district has said he was "blindsided" when he found out last week the state might take back money from a homeschool program. But other sources indicate TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma knew it was a possibility for months. 


Mesick school bond goes before voters a third time

Oct 25, 2018
Mesick Consolidated Schools

UPDATED Oct. 31, 2 p.m.  This story has been updated to clarify the cost of the proposed millage, which would add an extra $480 to the property tax bill on a home with a state equalized value of $100,000. State equalized value is 50 percent of the market value of a property.

On election day, Mesick residents will vote on a $14 million school bond. This will be the third time the bond proposal has gone before voters. It was rejected in 2017 and then again in May, when it failed by only 10 votes.

District officials hope this time around, more people will turn out to vote for the bond. Superintendent Scott Akom says most of the money would go toward building a new elementary school wing onto the high school.

Today on Stateside, the executive director of the Michigan Association of School Superintendents and Administrators talks about how Michigan school districts are responding after a company that provides substitute teachers to more than 100 Michigan districts abruptly closed its offices. Plus, we hear from the Republican and Democratic candidates for Michigan’s next Secretary of State.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Morgan Springer

At a forum Thursday night, candidates for the Traverse City school board were asked if the election was a referendum on district Superintendent Paul Soma. The Traverse City Area Public Schools superintendent has been under criticism for potential financial issues relating to the district's homeschool program and allegations of bullying

A former Michigan State University coach was back in court Thursday on criminal charges.

An Ingham County District Court judge determined there was enough evidence to send Kathie Klages to trial. She’s charged with a misdemeanor and a felony.

Michigan ranks first in the nation for per capita violent incidents at schools, according to a new report.

The report, from the Educator’s School Safety Network, compiled the number of school threats and violent incidents at schools across the country.

Michigan ranked number one in per capita threats and incidents, with 196 threats in the 2017-18 school year and 13 incidents.

Amanda Klinger is with the network. She says the study compiled news reports of incidents and threats and controlled for population.

Cheyna Roth

Michigan State University has named a search committee to find a new president.

Morgan Springer

Residents will continue funding improvements in Traverse City schools. Voters passed a $107 million bond for Traverse City Area Public Schools. According to unofficial election results, 67 percent (15,679 residents) voted yes, while 33 percent (7,662) said no.

The money will go towards things like building reconstruction, safety and technology improvements and bus replacements. 

“I mean you have to educate your kids or you’re going to be nowhere," says Kathleen Ziege who lives in Interlochen and voted for the bond.

 

Michigan is the only state failing to meet enough special education requirements to need intervention, according to a recent evaluation by federal education officials.

The Department of Education breaks its annual evaluation on special education down into three categories: meets, needs assistance, needs intervention, and lastly “needs substantial intervention.” The state of Michigan spent the past four school years in the “needs assistance” category.

David Cassleman

Traverse City school officials have released to the public an investigation into the district’s superintendent.

David Cassleman

Traverse City school officials have cleared the superintendent of allegations of illegal gender discrimination.

The board of Traverse City Area Public Schools voted unanimously Monday night to accept the findings made in an investigative report. In March, the board hired a firm to look into claims that Superintendent Paul Soma bullied female principals.

Morgan Springer

In Tuesday's election, voters passed two school bonds in northwest Lower Michigan, while two narrowly lost. 

It worked out for Cadillac Area Public Schools this time. Its bond proposal failed last year, but yesterday a new proposal – for slightly less money – passed with 56 percent of the vote. Now $65.5 million will go towards things like a new early childhood center, renovating buildings and equipment. 

Morgan Springer

School districts across Michigan are asking voters for more money for building renovations and equipment. More than 20 bond proposals are on ballots Tuesday, May 8. A number of those districts are trying again after bond proposals failed in previous elections.

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