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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Michigan's Albion High School will close permanently as State Public Education falls into the abyss

Photo Credit - WWMT Channel 3
Independent Underground News & Talk Op/Ed

UPDATE -Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 2:10 PM -Although Albion High School is set to close for the 2013-14 school year, it appears public pressure or  --winds of change of really horrible P.R.- has took place for Buena Vista Public School District. The news below is as noted by MLIVE reporter Lindsay Knake at 11:55 AM May 15th.

"State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has released money to the Buena Vista School District to allow the school to reopen and complete the school year.
The Saginaw County school district of 430 students has been closed for two weeks after the district could not make its May 24 payroll and laid off all but three employees."
Michigan Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel (D) told Independent Underground Radio LIVE listeners in an exclusive interview on Sunday, May 12 @ 7:00 PM ET, Statehouse Democrats would continue to put pressure on Governor Rick Snyder (R) and State Superintendent of Education Michael Flanagan to release funds to Buena Vista Public Schools to reopen the district as soon as possible.

It appears those efforts worked in this case and hopefully soon for every other Public School District across Michigan facing insolvency or closer. Now back to the article. 


As was written on Independent Underground News & Talk in April of this year, the fix is in on Public Education in Michigan. Ironically, as the school year is winding down for the summer, another public school district is on the brink of insolvency.

This time the district is Albion Public Schools in the Southwestern area of Michigan in Calhoun County. Albion's Board of Education voted 5-1 on Tuesday, May 14th, to shutter the high school effectively end instruction for grades 9-12.

Despite the Public School District academic gains, closing district buildings and using cash savings to stay operational, "White Flight" as described in the Battle Creek Enquirer by Albion High school teacher Mike Jurasek, has impacted attempts to stay afloat.

Jurasek said a number of things have brought Albion to this place: changes in administration, the economic downturn. But mostly, he said the state’s Schools of Choice program and a “white flight” from urban schools is to blame. Albion lost 1,250 kids between fall 2000 and fall 2012, and 55 percent of those students were white. 
“It’s just sad,” Jurasek said. “It’s just not good for the community. It’s just going to be a devastation for the community if they close the high school.”
It highly doubtful Representative Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) will step up in a similar way as Congressman Dan Kildee (D) or House Representative Stacy Erwin-Oaks (D), calling for the State and particularity Governor Rick Snyder (R) to step in and assist Albion Public Schools from shuttering its High School. Especially considering Rep. Bolger vote in 2011 on House Bill 4325 to cut $422,140 dollars in operational revenue from the public education district.

Across town, where the flight of Caucasian students out of Albion and into Marshall Public Schools has taken place, Marshall's P.S. School Board President Vic Potter made an offer to take Albion's soon-to-be former High School Students, according to a report in the Battle Creek Enquirer. Yet, Albion High School student Brandon Womack cited such a switch would not be problem free.

"In public comment after the vote, Marshall board President Vic Potter told the Albion board his district would be honored to take Albion’s invitation. 
“When people come to Marshall, we will have open arms,” Potter said. “Your kids deserve that.” 
Albion will provide transportation to high schoolers going to Marshall.
After the vote, 15-year-old Albion freshman Brandon Womack warned the board some students might rebel in Marshall. “Yes, there will be problems,” Womack said. “More than problems.”
Least review the damage so far in the effort to privatize or end Public Education in Michigan, shall we?

Buena Vista Public Schools was previously shuttered indefinitely, Pontiac Public Schools on the brink of Emergency Management, Muskegon Heights & Detroit Public Schools under so-called Educational Achievement Authority control -with DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts deciding to quit and then not quit his role in less than one week. Ironically, while of these Public Education causalities exist in Michigan, the State Department of Treasury reported a $542M surplus of revenue just this week.

Move over to Ann Arbor Public Schools -where Governor Rick Snyder lives but does not send his children- needing a $10 Million dollar loan to stay afloat and an estimated 148 Michigan's K-12 districts facing deficits beyond their control, our State's youngest citizens right to a free public education in this State is eroding away at the seams, regardless what the State Constitution decries.

From the Sunshine Review Website 

"The Michigan State Constitution (Article VIII - Section 2) requires that the state legislature "maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law." Additionally, the constitution notes that the legislature has the authority to provide transportation of students to and from any school".
We have to ask while taking trips for Photo-ops at Public School Districts across the Southeastern end of the State two weeks ago, did U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D) -a strong charter schools supporter- and Governor Rick Snyder (R) talk about ways to save K-12 instruction from falling into the abyss in Michigan?  Probably, not.

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