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Posted on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Legislation seeking 3-year moratorium on new charter schools introduced Thursday

By Katrease Stafford

State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday that would establish a three-year moratorium for new charter schools in communities where two public schools consolidate.

If implemented, the bill potentially could have a large impact on Washtenaw County.

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David Rutledge

In July, the school boards of Willow Run Community Schools and Ypsilanti Public Schools voted in favor of placing the question of consolidation on the November 2012 ballot for voters in the two districts.

The bill would only apply when voters approve a consolidation. A new charter school would not be authorized without the approval of the intermediate school district overseeing the consolidated district.

"This bill will protect a newly merged school district from companies attempting to capitalize on the tenuous transition of consolidating," Rutledge said in a statement. "The intent of this legislation is not to shut out charter schools, but to ensure that community-governed districts needing to consolidate have the time to do so."

Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, and Rutledge attended a joint board meeting at Eastern Michigan University in August and vowed to help in any way they could if voters pass the consolidation proposal in November. Rogers co-sponsored the bill.

Currently, there are five charter schools in the Ypsilanti area, two of which just opened this fall. WSC Academy, a new alternative charter high school, and South Pointe Scholars Academy.

South Pointe received 1,275 applications and turned away 670 enrollees for its first year. About 30 percent of the school's students have addresses in the Ypsilanti and Willow-Run school districts.

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


Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Too many Public Schools are failing. We need to provide Charter Schools as alternatives for parents and children. Remember the first and only significant interest of our Schools should be the welfare of the Children.


Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

More government, bureaucracy, and unions standing in the way of innovation while providing competative protection for failing performance. Who suffers and who gains? Students suffer, union members gain. Tell me again it's all about the kids.

Tom Todd

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

It is amazing to me the "responsibility" that is placed on the public sector workers for the difficult times that we live in today. Not once in this crisis has there been any reference to "all of us" being involved. No penny on sales tax, no greater contribution by the wealthy, no VAT on services purchased, etc. Why is that? Why aren't we all included in the solution? Or, is it that there is more profit to be gained by turning all services over to "private" sector employers whose goal is making money for owners/investors?


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

I don't understand why two failing traditional public schools are being given the option of consolidation. How will this benefit the students? This an an excellent example of how traditional public schools are not being held to the same standards and accountability as charter public schools. The failing public charter schools would be closed ,as they should be. Why the double-standard? State Rep. Rutlledge states, " This bill would protect a newly merged school district from companies attempting to capitalize on the tenuous transition of consolidating." I wonder who is protecting the students from the same failing system? How about a bill to the voters with a choice: 1. Consolidation of two failing public schools to form one district to serve the students. 2. A new public school (charter or traditional) with a proven track record of success to serve the students. Our students deserve so much better than this.

Tom Todd

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

I'd say the far right is doing a good job telling us unions are the Countries biggest problem, I believe unions are the only thing from keeping the middle class from falling off the cliff.

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Why do you the Teacher's Unions in the Public Employ refuse to be paid on the basis on merit and results accomplished like virtually all employees in private enterprise? If a teacher does not do a good job, she has no business being paid for teaching children.

Tom Todd

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : midnight

why does any of our tax money go to other countries.

Tom Todd

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

how is that different then fox news


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

You are right sir, the (n.b.) "country's" middle-class that are paid from tax dollars are doing just fine TT. Until the money to pay their salary and benefits runs out.

Basic Bob

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

I think unions are great until they try to interfere in government and manipulate elections.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

If there is a new consolidated school district, i would love to see it succeed. I'd hope that people would give it a chance. However, the last thing the newly created district would need would be to have a bunch of parents and students who are furious because they feel trapped because of this moratorium.


Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

And trapped they are thanks to special interest influence.

Dog Guy

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, is earning the MEA money which elects him.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

This is typical. Rutledge is the tool of special interests and not students or taxpayers. I find this proposal immoral and criminal..... it is everything wrong with govt.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

Once again we see why term limits are a good idea. Especially so in uncompetitive "one party" districts like Rutledge's. Six years and he's gone, no matter what. Think about that the next time some astro-turf "good government" outfit or editorial writer tries to float the idea that term limits don't work and ought to be repealed.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Term limits DO work, and that's why they ought to be repealed.

Michigan Man

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

What the community really needs is a moratorium on voting for this guy again! Old ideas, lowering the educational bar in what is thought to have the smartest people in America (Ann Arbor) and very few seem to care.

Linda Peck

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

This is such a bad idea. We need freedom in this country to educate our children as we see fit, not as the government sees fit.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Yes, we need to evaluate operating charter schools over time before assuming they will be better than puclic schools. As a taxpayer, I want to pay for the education of children and the supplies that teachers shouldn't have to supply out of their personal finances. I don't want to pay for a system that generates profits for investors while less money goes to teachers and students. The cut we need in public education is to not have extra layers of expensive administration. Education is in the basic services category with police and fire protection. We can't afford to remove money from nonprofit schools in order to fund for profit schools unless there is overwhelming evidence of superior results. There are also the factors of distance and transportation. For a true study, accessibility needs to be equivalent for students from different locations. The three year moratorium would allow time for the needed study.


Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

Talker, mainstream schools are being given a pass, special interest prevents them from being evaluated with any kind of change that can be implemented. And yet you want to hold court on innovative change that can provide an option to the students of an existing failing system. Remember that mainstream schools are profit centers also with 85% of revenue going to employees and that is what this legislation is about...protecting the profit center for special interest while trapping the students in a failing system with no options. Charter schools actually receive less money per student but contribute a greater "percentage" of revenue to classroom needs than your maintream schools. So lets not make it unmanageable with all the discourse and doubt casting. That's a ploy of special interest.. Our nations schools are NOT performing and its time for change. Immediate change. There's been 40 years for talking and it hasn't happened. and it will never happen without forced competative pressure.

Tom Todd

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Rutledge for Governor, he has my vote.

A Voice of Reason

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Education is about the protecting the adults first, kids second. Nothing new.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

I home schooled/private schooled my kids so I'd never have worry about any goofy notions proposed by humbugs in thrall of the teacher's union in the state leg like Rutledge.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

It is really bad that Public Schools cannot compete with Charter Schools! I guess that says something about the administrators and teachers we employ.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

"Tuition greater than vouchers will financially limit matriculation of poor students. " Veracity, you know that there is no tuition for charter schools in Michigan, and no vouchers are involved, right? In our state, charter schools are free public schools.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

XMO - I doubt that you can provide a reliable information source that supports your contention that public schools can not compete with charter schools. Why would you believe that introducing the profit motive into education will improve the product? Profit for a charter school means that student tuition has to be more than the expenses of education, including staff salaries and building maintenance. So while tuition is guaranteed to be increase every year, teachers will receive minimum wages and building improvements likely deferred. Since no evidence exists that charter teachers are any better than public school teachers the only way charter schools will out perform public schools is to limit the poor performers primarily by limiting students from low socio-economic homes. And charter schools have several mechanisms to effectively restrict or even eliminate low socio-economic children. Tuition greater than vouchers will financially limit matriculation of poor students. Building charter schools far from low socio-economic neighborhoods will eliminate potential entrants whose families can not provide transportation to the charter school. And, finally, the charter school can expel poorly performing students for any number of reasons, most commonly behavioral. If you want to eliminate the testing gap then you have to correct the deficiencies in poor family homes so that pre-schoolers receive the proper attention and developmental advantages that are missing. Head Start is a program with some success at advancing underprivileged pre-schoolers towards future successful performance. Educating and re-educating parents and improving their self-esteem will have positive effects on children. Re-training parents for jobs will alter attitudes and introduce pride and interest in success that will be passed on to the children.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Hey Mike, when did Saline Schools become pro-choice? I looked, but I can't find it on their website...


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

Pro-choice schools are different from charter schools. Do not confuse one with the other.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

The challenge for charter schools is to educate the low socio-economic students who enter school with poor or no learning skills. Of course, charter schools can limit the number of disadvantages students allowed into their schools by charging tuition which is considerably higher than the vouchers that parents receive. Thus, poor parents are priced out of a charter school education for their children. Also charter schools can be built at distances from low socio-economic communities so that many poor parents can not transport their children to a charter school. Finally, charter schools can expel children who misbehave or fail other rules which can effectively exclude poor performers. The resulting improved scholastic testing scores will misrepresent the scope of effective education. Those charter schools created by publicly traded companies will have to increase tuition yearly and reduce expenses by restraining teacher salaries and benefits and decreasing investments in the physical property. The charter school corporate executives must create a profit annually in order to keep stock holders happy so that they can retain their jobs. Charter schools, by nature, are not a panacea and certainly not a cure for the educational gap deficiencies experienced in public schools. Most benefits accrue to the charter school's corporate executives through large salaries and stock incentives (which represent tuition over payments). Therefore, proliferating charter schools will only exacerbate the educational problems in public schools by siphoning off good performing students and leaving larger numbers of poorly performing students to be taught with fewer personnel and financial resources. This is a no win situation for students, communities and the country.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Charter schools don't charge tuition. They are public school districts; they're prohibited from charging tuition or fees, so no charter school is pricing poor parents out of an education for their children. Charter schools receive the minimum per-pupil funding allotment from the state, just like most public schools do. They cannot receive millage money and they can't supplement their income by charging fees to attend. Charter schools can choose the location in which they operate - true. Many charter schools build new buildings that aren't centrally located because "host districts" often refuse to rent or sell their empty buildings to the charters. Additionally, existing buildings that are available for lease or purchase may have operational costs that are too high. (Old buildings have "old building" problems - leaks, old windows, bad heating systems, not enough space, poor design, high retrofit costs, etc. Often why the host district abandoned them in the first place.) True, charter schools are not required to offer busing, but then again, neither are public schools. The only bus transportation required by state law is for special education students. Nothing prevents charter schools from offering bus transportation. At least 2 charters in this area provide transportation - including Central Academy and the Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy. Washtenaw Technical Middle College is on the AATA bus route, and students can take the bus to get there. Charter school student performance is comparable to the performance of students in the host district, so charter schools aren't "siphoning off good students" while leaving the "bad" students behind. If that were the case, charters would outperform their host district counterparts, which they don't. There are a lot of reasons to argue against charter schools, but the arguments you've presented don't hold much water.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Veracity's contribution is worth the read, people.

Tom Todd

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

Well said.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

You all miss the point. Poor kids don't have lobbyists or pay money into reelection campaigns, the MEA does. Got to protect those unionized teaching positions.

Basic Bob

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Really, why would progressives start caring about the poor?


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Tom I believe he's concerned with the kids trying to make it into the middle class.

Tom Todd

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

Your Jealous there is a middle class.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Nice. Kick the students when they're down. You've already made it, Rutledge. Why ensure that so many others don't?


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Got to protect his base.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Great. Lets ban charter schools in low-income areas with failing schools--the exact places where charter schools offer the greatest benefit to our kids. It is unbelievable that lawmakers want to cut out charters specifically in an area that has mostly minority students, when majority and wealthy areas have no such restriction.

The Black Stallion3

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

This is nothing short of socialism.

Tom Todd

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

the G.I. bill back 60 to 70 years ago was socialism.


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Didn't Obama send his kids to a upscale private school, then close the door to public school vouchers to that school?

The Black Stallion3

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Glad your paying get ready for the big tax increase.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Then it must be Obama's fault somehow


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

So they're protecting their failed schools by holding the kids hostage. Well at least the poor kids. Tell us again how much you care about the kids.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

So hold the students and their parents hostage. And if the "consolidation" fails those students caught in the crossfire and hosed. Nice legislation.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

How long do the public schools need. They have monopolized the schools for way too long and the students pay the price. They're pro-choice when it comes to abortions but not where I send my kid to school? Really?


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Thank you David Rutledge!