Russ Gibb at Random

Dearborn Public Schools

July 5, 2009

June 29, 2009

The Honorable Governor Jennifer Granholm
Via Fax (517) 335-6863.

Good Afternoon, Governor Granholm,

If our children will inherit our legacy, then, we should do all that we can to insure that the legacy they inherit is better than we inherited from our parents.

The current economic crisis is not the making of the State of Michigan government. The economic crisis can be traced back to 1999 when the federal government loosened the criteria for home financing.

Our schools, like any business are faced with a myriad of laws and regulations that have to be implemented. Failure to implement these laws and regulations can have significant impact on the bottom line of the school district’s balance sheet. Dearborn is a leader in education initiatives and reform in servicing a diversified and needy student population.

Your predecessor, Governor Engler, set into motion the way the state funds schools. This funding scheme has been devastating to schools across the state. Over the last 8 years, my employer, Dearborn Public Schools has cut over 36 million dollars, laid off non instructional personnel and diminished the level of services that we can provide.

We expected the reduction in our per pupil state aid. So Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education has cut 11 million dollars in budget cuts for 2009-2010.

We have just been notified that there will be an additional cut of 7.8 million dollars. This represents 1,980,000 in State Aid by cutting $110 per pupil ($480,000 more than was figured) $5,800,000 in category 31A at risk monies and $1,600,000 in funding for the district’s Grant Start Readiness Program (GSRP)

This will virtually bring many of our Strategic Plan initiatives to a stand still. There will be catastrophic eliminations to programs and staff. With these additional cutbacks our district will need to eliminate programs and staff totaling $18,880,000 before the fall of 2009.

Letter to Governor Granholm
School Aid Cuts
June 29, 2009
Page 2

We are the only district in the State of Michigan to receive such a disproportional amount in state aid cuts. We are already contribute approximately $15,000,000 of our tax dollars back to the state. Please consider the devastating impact that the loss of 20(j) and 31(a) funding will have on Dearborn Public Schools. At a minimum, Dearborn will layoff more than 200 additional teaching positions and severely curtail programs for our at risk students that will have significant long term on the level of social services provided by other state entities. Also, Dearborn will fall into bankruptcy because the school district can’t keep up with all the employee costs.

Leadership in good times is demanding. Leadership in bad times proves character.

Please reconsider these further cuts in funding sources for Dearborn Public Schools.

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10 Comment(s)

As soon as Dearborn schools begin to educate our students I will start requesting more money be given to the schools. I have a student going into 9th grade who all last year was able to re-take tests to ensure they get good grades, I would estimate 8 weeks were spent on MEAP, and other standardized testing. The schools are a joke and I say keep cutting money until they can perform.
I was just on the face book page of a guy running for city council who went to Fordson. His spelling, grammer (its vs it's, two, too, to) is an embarassment. That is what we graduate from our schools. I am ASHAMED to be a Dearborn school parent.

--by Schools stink on 7/8/09   Lives: Dearborn  

check your spelling of grammar before you criticize others.

--by pot calling kettle on 7/10/09   Lives: Detroit area  

Parents play a huge role in the success of their children in school. We need to stop criticizing the schools and start working with them. You need to work with your children at home and make sure you know exactly what is going on in school. Many graduates of Dearborn schools are today successful professionals with high level education. The only criticism is that parents expect so much out of teachers and school personnel and they do not want to put any effort in educating their own children and setting good examples for them. Writing governor Granholm for more funding for our schools depicts a caring loving parent or citizen who cares about our schools and our children. We can not continue to ignore our children’s education. Funding for schools in this country should be top priority. Our country will never succeed in competing with countries like Japan and China if we do not spend the energy and money needed for our children to have a well rounded education. A big thank you to those who care enough to take 10 minutes out of their day to write, call, or email the governors office. Thank you!!!

--by Dearborn Schools Rock on 7/16/09   Lives: Dearborn  

I do care about my child and his grades, he does homework every night-homework that I find on line or from library books because his teachers do not "believe" in homework. He has homework all summer to keep up and develop new skills. The problem is when he is allowed to retake each test until he gets an "A", where is the motivation for him to study. When the teacher will not even tell me what he got on the test the first time, just that he got a 92%-more than one attempt taken. How do I personally reward him for doing a good job or consequences for not doing well? When I can not get a call back from a teacher when I call to ask a question, and the principal says "come to parent teacher confrences, they must be too busy to return your call". When they go to school for under 175 days a year, when my son has 6 classes, one of which is study hall-not by my choice- and one is PE, explain to me how that is going to have us compete with any other country. The teachers unions want more money for less work and less accountability. I will not ask for more money to be put into a system that is not working. Fix the system and I will scream and yell for more money. My son did not had to write one paper his entire 8th grade language arts career. It was TERRIBLE!! He got an A-for good effort-watch for spelling, grammer errors and writing needs to be more organized (he probably got that from me), but seriously an A?? Grades are given like they are passing out A's, as though teachers get paid for each A they hand out. I am involved with my child's education, but after spending 9 hours at work, I can not do more than the hour I do with him each night, I dont have the time/patience/or energy. Step it up schools

--by I do my part on 7/18/09   Lives: Dearborn  

If you think teachers make decisions about calendar days, the way your student is graded, the type of classes the student is taking, attendance policy and make up tests, you are assuming the teacher has more power then they do. The state determines curriculum, the number of schools days, and the mandated classes the student takes. The district decides the absent policy, the grading policy and the retake policy. Please don't attack teachers for policies that they do not create. As a tax payer in Michigan and in Dearborn, you have the power over the people that make the policy.

--by Pot calling kettle on 7/21/09   Lives: Detroit area  

The teachers union does determine number of days in school. The State determines MINIMUM days of class, not MAXIMUM. The Union also negotiates study hall as a class, not the State. The State determines MINIMUM criteria, the schools can and should step up beyond that.

--by I do my part on 7/21/09   Lives: Dearborn  

The State has certain days and hours that we have to meet. A calendar is designed by the district and the union based on what we are told we have to meet for those days and hours, or instructional miuntes.

I will take your word on study hall. I teach at a high school in Dearborn, and have for the last 11 years. We have never offered study hall, nor have I ever been asked to vote on study hall as a class as part of my contract. Since study hall is not a certified class, it would not be in my interest to vote for a study hall, because anyone could monitor that class, which could hurt my union brothers and sisters. I will do further research, but I was not aware of my unions role in study hall.

--by pot calling kettle on 7/21/09   Lives: Detroit area  

well hopefully my son will have you as a teacher next year, I am not against the unions. I am a union member as well, I am against the unions (any union) bringing down this country.
I stand by my statement that the State sets MINIMUM hours and it would be beneficial for Dearborn to extend beyond the minimum.

--by i do my part on 7/22/09   Lives: Dearborn  

Fair enough. I can back you up on not bringing the country down. I agree that unions should support workers, but enable them. Just know that the district plays a big part in deciding how many hours and how the days look. It is true the union is part of the equation, but it is agreement between Dearborn Schools and the Union, so the board of education might be a place to start.

--by pot calling kettle on 7/23/09   Lives: Detroit area  

Having grown up in the Dearborn school system in the 70's/early 80's it sounds to me like things have changed drastically. DHS was looked at as a college prep school in my day. Also I live in Northville and their school system is far superior to this. My kids, (1st and 4th grades), have homework throughout summer and most every night during the school year. It is our jobs as parents to assist the teachers in keeping up with the pace that is now the norm.
I know I had a certain english teacher who not only lead us beyond the norm but heavily stressed the realities of not being prepared for at least that....I wonder whatever became of him? ;)

--by Been There on 7/31/09   Lives: Detroit area  

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