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School Board signs Memorandum

December 29, 2009 by WLKM 

If the State of Michigan is successful in its quest for federal Race To The Top (RTTT) funding, the Three Rivers Community Schools will be among the participating school districts.

During its December 14th meeting, the Three Rivers Community Schools Board of Education authorized signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that’s part of the application process.

Signed by the local superintendent, local school board president, and local teachers’ union president, the MOUs are commitments from school districts to implement the state’s innovative education reform plan. They will be included in the state’s Race To The Top application as indication of support by local school districts of the state’s plan.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan received the first such Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from the Oxford Community Schools on December 22nd and said he expected it to be “the first of hundreds of MOUs we get from local school districts across the state.”

Flanagan said that when local superintendents, school board presidents, and teachers’ union presidents sign these MOUs, they can feel confident that innovative reforms being implemented will lead to a stronger and more vibrant education system for Michigan’s children.

“Michigan will lead this nation with the new education system we are forging,” Flanagan said. “There is no lack of courageous leadership at the local school level, and we will begin to see that unfold over the next several weeks.”

Many MOUs are being processed through intermediate school districts.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, the deadline for local districts to get their signed MOU to their intermediate school district is January 7th. The intermediate school districts must have all MOUs sent to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) by January 8th. Public School Academies may send their MOU directly to MDE by January 8th.

The Michigan Legislature on December 19th approved education reforms aimed at improving schools and boosting the state’s chances for securing RTTT funds. According to a news release from the Michigan House Republicans regarding the RTTT agreement, Michigan schools will see the following:

• More high-performing charter schools, including new accountability measures for charter schools and Internet-based “cyber-schools”

• More flexibility for schools to remove ineffective teachers, and a merit system for good-performing teachers

• More leverage for the state to help underachieving schools, giving the state superintendent the power to create “turnaround schools,” which will include hiring a chief academic officer

• And an opportunity for parents and students to create a personal curriculum for high school students.

In commenting on House passage of the education reforms, House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) said,”In order to keep Michigan on the road to recovery, we must invest in our kids’ education – it’s that simple. Michigan’s success in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century depends on making sure our kids are ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. This plan will give our state an edge in ‘Race to the Top’ to help bring these important federal funds to Michigan schools.”

The federal Race To The Top initiative is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program for states to implement comprehensive and innovative education reforms. If selected, Michigan would receive upwards of $400 million for its schools to implement the education reform plan.

According to Roger Rathburn, superintendent of the Three Rivers Community Schools, indications are the local school district’s share of the RTTT funding would be just under $279,000 ($278,733).

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