December 11, 2013 - Savor your championship now, because governor wants to take control
of our local schools
As I watched community members pour into the high school to get their football playoff tickets for our team and then fill Ford Field to watch our football team win our first football state championship, I know we are blessed with a community that not only supports our sports teams, but the whole school district in general. Even though the last school district millage failed, many community members came out to support our schools and I feel that the economy had as much to do with that as anything. The community spoke and decided what was best for our school district at the time.
Not only are our sports teams doing well (see boys tennis, girls swimming & diving etc..), our academic teams such as Mock Trial and FIRST Robotics are making headlines. Our performing arts teams are regularly making state tournaments and our theatre productions are first class out of this world.
Say good bye to them along with local control Clarkston Community School district citizens if Gov. Snyder and his Oxford Foundation or other "skunk works" projects get their way.
Although most of the recommendations (www.oxfordfoundationmi.com) from this project have not been enacted upon yet, the Michigan legislature is looking at many of the objectives in the upcoming legislative session.
In short, Gov. Snyder is looking to privatize public education and take away local control of our school district. If this happens, no public school system will be able to afford any extra-curricular activities, which include sports, clubs and performing arts.
Many readers will remember that Proposal A mandated that school funding follow students from one district to another or to charter or on-line schools. The Oxford Foundation and Gov. Snyder's proposals go one step further and suggest that school funding be piecemealed and follow students by the hour. This would theoretically allow students to take more on-line classes from anywhere. The Oxford Foundation and Gov. Snyder's proposals would allow corporations and cultural institutions to open up "school districts" to receive state funding. By the way, the Michigan legislature passed and Gov. Snyder signed legislation allowing unlimited charter schools (P.A. 277).
Since these new 'school districts" would NOT have to transport students, would NOT have any class size limits, would NOT have to offer special education services and would NOT have to offer extra-curricular activities, they can run at a much lower cost than traditional public schools. Where do social skills and collaboration fit into these new "school districts"? Gov. Snyder and the Oxford Foundation do not see the relevance of these skills for the 21st century learner.
Public school per pupil funding has been cut 24.5% in real inflation dollars since 2002 (MI Dept of Ed.) Combine this with the expected enrollment decreases in Michigan and funding decreases from Gov. Snyder's attempt to privatize public education and you will get a public school system that cannot service special needs students, yet alone field competitive, functional sports, academic and performing arts teams.
Clarkston citizens, you better savor our first football state championship now because if Gov. Snyder gets his way, local control of school districts is on paper only and this may be the last time you will see a Clarkston sports team able to be called state champions.
Bridge in Depot Park
has several deficiencies
If one looks under the bridge you will see that the center beam has failed and is several inches below the deck boards ("Depot bridge out for repairs," Dec. 4). This is what makes the deck bouncy and has caused the deck boards to fail.
This bridge also has many other deficiencies and does not meet any known criteria for pedestrian bridges and public safety including federal ADA guidelines.
As a walker, concerned citizen and registered professional engineer, I hope the city realizes their responsibility to the public and governing laws. It makes little sense to put more time and tax payer money into something that does not work and puts everyone at risk.