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Letter to the editor

Loss of control

September 21, 2011 - Dear Editor,

I am part of a grassroots group, MI-CAPE (Michigan Citiziens Advocating for Public Education).  Please check us out on Facebook or Google us to learn more. We are based in Lake Orion, but are working with people from all over the state regarding Michigan Education legislation and issues.

We have been working tirelessly with our local legislators in Lansing as well as the Education committee legislators.  We are very opposed to the new legislation introduced at a Senate hearing on Sept. 7, regarding open enrollment / choice schools.  We are also concerned about the other components introduced in this education package ... privatizing of teachers and elimination of the cap on charter schools. All of this legislation introduced is available to read on the MI-CAPE site. We are asking everyone to take a serious look at this new legislation and join us in taking action by writing and calling our legislators, Governor Rick Snyder, Senator Jim Marleau and Representative Brad Jacobsen, as well as the legislators on the education committee, especially Senator PhilPavlov. Info for all committee members also is available. Just email me at and I will get you all of the Education Committee contact information.)  Mandating school districts to become a schools of choice is not the answer to fixing the failing schools.  If any district chooses to become a school district of choice, it should be because that district has decided it, not the state. Isn't that why we have ELECTED School Boards of Education? MI -CAPE is continuing to meet with legislators in Lansing this month. In the meantime, we need your help - please let Lansing know your feelings on the proposed legislation. 

We also have uncovered the supposed "loophole" in Prop A that allowed the Governor to take the millions of dollars (I believe the number was $900 million) out of the State Aid fund and give it to higher education.  There is no loophole in Prop A itself. Our very own State of Michigan Constitution allows it.  In 1994 when Prop A was passed, no legislation was written to get the constitution changed to remove the "State Aid fund can be used for K - 12, higher education and retirement."  An oversight? Really? Although no previous Governor had taken any State Aid funds based on this wording in our constitution, the fact is it is in there! (Granholm took a$100 million loan from the fund, but I am not sure if she paid it back.)  No caps, time lines or any limits are spelled out regarding the use of these funds. This must be changed.  The only way to change it is for the citizens of Michigan to vote this change in ... the change that School Aid Funds can ONLY be used for K-12. We need the all citizens and organized groups to help get this on the 2012 ballot.

We need your help to spread the word.  Get the letters and phone calls made.  We need to deal with this loss of local control /schools of choice issue IMMEDIATELY.

Karen Appledorn

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