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Posted on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

EMU Board of Regents to decide whether to authorize 3 new charter schools

By Katrease Stafford

The Charter Schools Office at Eastern Michigan University is seeking the approval of three new charter schools that would be established in southeast Michigan if approved, according to a university official.

Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations for EMU, confirmed the regents will vote on the item at its 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting in 201 Welch Hall on campus.

Twenty-one phase one applications were received in March 2012, which were then narrowed down to 10 applicants to participate in the phase two application process. Of those 10, three will be recommended to the board Tuesday.

In addition to being located in southeast Michigan, the proposed new charter schools will serve at-risk and underserved populations and will either be K-5 or K-8 schools.

The EMU Charter Schools Office was established in 1995 and oversees eight public school academies located in Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw and Genesee counties. Only one, Ann Arbor Learning Community, is located in Washtenaw County.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Andrew Jason Clock

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Why do we continue to approve more for profit charters when all of the statistics show they don't do a better job of educating kids, even though they get to pick and choose who attends? Want Ypsi and Willow Run Schools, or any local public school, to improve? Stop robbing them and handing the tax money that is supposed to support them over to for profit corporations. For all of the people who complain about the misuse of public funds, I can't believe nobody cares that charters are a blatant tax give away. The competition theory failed, mostly because you can't improve a school system while you simultaneously rob it of students and funding. Shut down the charter system and fix our schools, before we have no alternative to corporate schools.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

Get rid of the Unions and I would agree with you, other than that The Charters Stay!

greg, too

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

So not only are you stacking the deck against the traditional schools by pulling out their best and brightest, but you are then handcuffing them with inept state and local leaders who cut their funding and then force them to compete with companies that have relatively endless funding? Makes sense...nice fair competition in the lines of having Umich go up against Ypsi in football.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Because this is a way to finally force the public school administrators to try to run their districts like there isn't an endless supply of taxpayer money. Power to them.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

What would have been really great in this article is ANY information on these proposed schools. Who are the operators, where are they going to be, or at least what are their names? For-profit? Non-profit? Clandestine religious? If they've gotten to this stage it's just a formality. They're in. EMU does not provide any info yet on these schools on their website. Why?? So maybe we can learn more when it's all approved and they begin operating. Although I saw this article 20 minutes before the meeting started I'm grateful to at least know it was happening. It's just that this article felt like it was truncated and ended right when the good information was about to begin. If they're getting our tax money I just wish the process would be a little more transparent and open to public input (or awareness). I look forward to this site helping us toward that. Thanks!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

YpsiBarry, most of the information you are looking for is available via FOIA request to the authorizer (university, community college or ISD) and/or Michigan Department of Education Public School Academies Unit. I can tell you, though, that none of it is as interesting as you'd think! For clarification, technically *all* charter schools are nonprofit entities operated by school boards. The profit comes in when those school boards hire for-profit educational management corporations to come in and operate all aspects of the school. The nonprofit board sits back and rubber-stamps whatever the management company does. It's only a slight simplification to say that the school board tells the operator, "Here's our state education funding. Run the school and keep whatever is left over." Even worse is that the for-profit corporations operate like any other company with a product--they identify a market in which they believe they can earn revenue and drum of a group of people in that market to be the school board so they can have a nonprofit entity on the applications, but it's really all started and carried out by the for-profit corporation. As I mentioned in a previous comment, however, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater--there are many amazing, independent charter schools out there that in no way resemble the corporate model I just described, and they are genuine assets to children and their communities.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

I never realized that the EMU board of regents had anything to do with charter schools. So for that, I thank you for the article.

Geoff Larcom

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Note: The regular EMU Board of Regents meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. today in Welch Hall. Committee meetings begin at 9 a.m. Here is the link for today's meeting schedule and agenda:

David Paris

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

I understand that For Profit Schools need to be approved by a University, but what I'd like to know is; What does EMU get out of the deal? Why would any university want to babysit a For Profit, when they could be channeling those resources back into their own student body? Anyone??? Anyone???


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

David, While I do believe that University, Community Colleges and ISD's have the best of intentions, they do receive 3 percent of the schools budget for providing oversight. I have a child in an NHA school and while I can say we are generally happy, there are issues. When the issues are brushed aside by the charter school and you take your complaint to the authorizing higher ed school you won't get very far or much support. The reason, "Don't bite the hand that feed you!" In general the charter schools are allowed to operate as they see fit.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

It seems as if EMU is doing a pretty good job of overseeing their existing charters, and surely none of the charter haters can claim that those schools are any more "for-profit" than EMU itself is. Thgis sounds like good news for the communities where the new schools will be located.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

Just what we need. Instead of improving the quality of public school education, we get more charter schools.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Jmcmurray, it's easy to misunderstand charter schools as being for-profit. Most of the charter schools in Michigan are operated by for-profit management companies such as National Heritage Academies. However, you should also understand that there are dozens and dozens of charter schools in Michigan, and thousands throughout the country, that have been created by parents and community members who knew that the traditional public schools don't work for all kids and created a school to fulfill the unmet educational needs of their local community. These schools were generally created by volunteers who worked for at least a year, probably much longer, just to get the school doors open. There is no profit or personal gain to be made in that--just a lot of patience, commitment and hard work. In some cases many families spend their own money to cover necessary startup costs if they can't get a grant or have expenses not covered by a grant. The independently operated schools grew organically and every one I have visited has been a delightful, open, tolerant, caring community of learning. Ann Arbor Learning Community, mentioned in this article, is one of those delightful schools. There are many others but sadly they are outnumbered by the corporate schools. I am an advocate for community-based, independent charter schools, and a fierce opponent of the cookie-cutter for-profit model that is exemplified by corporations like NHA. A corporation making profit off our education tax dollars is stealing money directly from that teachers and children, as far as I am concerned, and should be outlawed. I just ask that you educate yourself about charter schools before making rash judgements. The corporate-run schools are *not* what charter schools are meant to be, and give a bad name to those who are working hard to create unique and loving community-based learning environments.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

No, Mumbambu, they are not one and the same. Among many other differences, traditional public schools are non-profit. Charter schools are for-profit.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

...Or you could do a simple Google search to understand why your post doesn't make sense. Instead of investing in public safety, we hired more police officers.