Dissolved districts may find way to get back in business

Capital News Service
LANSING — School districts that were dissolved may have a chance to reestablish themselves under legislation designed to address potential dissolution of more districts. Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit, who recently introduced the bill, said no mechanism exists for school districts to reestablish themselves. The bill would give intermediate school districts the power to elect a new school board for dissolved districts. Schools in low-income neighborhoods have been facing deficit issues as a result of cuts to education funding and declining enrollment. Ironically, many families moved to these neighborhoods because of their public school systems, Nathan said.

Proposal would toughen regulations for new charter schools

Capital New Service
LANSING – Making public school academies — charters — more accountable is on the minds of some legislators. A bill by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, would prohibit new academies from having management agreements with for-profit organizations. It also would disallow authorizing bodies, such as universities, from creating new academies unless students at all of their existing academies perform at least 20 percent better than students in the nearest traditional school district. Weak laws have allowed a lot of charter schools to pop up and take students away from traditional schools, causing financial stress to public schools that lose state aid, Hopgood said. The charters create an uneven playing field, he said.

Airports hit by lower federal, state aid

Capital News Service
LANSING – A slight drop in money from Washington and Lansing this year has reduced the ability of some Michigan airports to do maintenance and infrastructure projects. The state has 235 public use airports, a number that hasn’t changed for several years, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). For 2013, these airports will receive about $107.7 million in government funds, $82.2 million from the federal government and $14.4 million from the state. Jon Ogar of MDOT’s Aeronautics Bureau said federal funding has been declining a little, while state money has steadily dropped in recent years. “Generally, about 75 percent of funding is used for rehabilitating or maintaining current infrastructure, and the remainder is used for capacity enhancement,” Ogar said.