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Home Bulletins Weekly Updates MAPSA Weekly Update - May 29, 2013
MAPSA Weekly Update - May 29, 2013
May 29, 2013
Good Things Happening in Our Schools:

West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science Students Clear Out Invasive Mustard Plants at Park
Students at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (WMAES) in Grand Rapids spent time Tuesday cleaning up Linus Palmer Park. Student council members in grades 6-12 picked invasive garlic mustard plants to help the environment in Kent County.

“The garlic mustard plant is a non-native invasive plant that will completely overtake an area of land," said Holly Orlans, environmental education specialist at WMAES. "The infestation can wipe out native wildflowers and stunt the growth of our native trees, such as oak and chestnut. By removing the plant before their flowers turn into seeds, we are making an environmental impact."

Students will combine the leaves of the plants with garlic, oil, sunflower seeds and parmesan cheese to make a pesto. This will be served over hot pasta with a side salad that comes from the school’s Hoop House. The Hoop House is an on-site greenhouse that grows salad greens from March to December.

“Every year our student council members participate in projects that assist the community and the environment.  It just so happens that this time, students will literally be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Orians said.

West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science is authorized by Central Michigan University.

Please submit any announcements, news or event information for MAPSA's "Good Things Happening in Our Schools" feature to Buddy Moorehouse at

MAPSA Works to Get Charters FY 14 State Aid Increase
After many months of hard work with both legislative chambers, MAPSA is pleased to report that every charter school in Michigan will be receiving at least $58 per student more next year under the conference report for the School Aid budget approved by the legislature today. Some of the proposals on the table would have resulted in a state aid decrease of $36 per pupil for our schools, and we fought hard to make sure that didn’t happen. We were also successful in eliminating language that would have decreased funding for schools that offer 100% online programs. 

Barring any vetoes, the equity gap will again narrow between the lowest- and highest-funded districts, and all charter schools will receive an increase in funding for next year. Here is the breakdown for the per-pupil increases in the Foundation Allowance:

Lowest-Funded Charter (minimum foundation allowance)
FY 14: $7,076
Includes $60 foundation allowance increase and a $50 equity payment.
FY 13: $6,966
GAIN = $110
Highest-Funded Charter (PSA maximum)
FY 14: $7,168

Includes $58 foundation allowance increase
FY 13: $7,110
GAIN = $58

Potential additional increases:

  • $52 per pupil in Best Practices funds (requirements similar to last year)
  • Up to $100 per pupil in performance funding
  • Schools that participate in MPSERS will continue to receive an additional offset for that obligation, but reduced by approximately 35% in lieu of increased Foundation Allowance payments

Click here for a breakdown of the budget impact on each school.

Work Continues on Common Core State Standards
The Legislature has reviewed proposals lately related to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. They have put an amendment into the budget that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Education from expending any funds to implement Common Core State Standards or the Smarter Balance assessment without legislative approval. MAPSA does not support lowering standards for students and believes strongly that Michigan’s children need and deserve high standards to be competitive in a global economy.

We are aware the MDE sent out a memo about this on Tuesday, and we wanted to point out a few important details:

  • This does not stop schools from moving forward in implementing the standards into their curriculum. It does not withdraw Michigan from the consortium working in the assessments or from the adoption of the standards. It merely prohibits expenditures from the MDE to implement them.
  • Also, the budget bill does not go into effect until October 1, 2013 – thus, the MDE can continue to work on the standards and assessments at least until then.

MAPSA will continue to work with legislators and allies to get legislative approval before October 1, 2013. In the meantime, we will assess the impact and hope to get more information out soon about next steps, but there is no immediate need to change courses in your schools when it comes to Common Core, as this could be reinstated.

Learn How Your School Safety Plan Can Help to Lower Your Insurance Rates
As the original cooperative provider through MAPSA, General Agency/EMC can provide you with the protection you need: their history will protect your future! In serving 180 charter schools and management companies across the United States, General Agency/EMC has a program which will meet ALL authorizer requirements. Their program will provide you with the coverage your school, board and employees need. They have been insuring charter schools since 1996 and have more than 50+ years of combined experience.

General Agency/EMC can offer excellent coverage, experienced professionals, great loss control/risk management, a solid committed insurance carrier, and with newly reduced rates on property insurance, their program is sure to be a highly competitive option for protecting your students and school. Since 2000, they have paid over $14,000,000 in claims to charter schools.

Click here to view an e-book detailing the types of protection General Agency/EMC can provide to your school.

For more information or to obtain a quote, contact John Olson by email: or call: 800-589-6982.


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The Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) has been the unified voice of the public charter school movement in Michigan since 1996. MAPSA represents over 119,000 students, 16,000 public school academy employees, dozens of authorizers and more than 50 education service providers working in 276 public charter schools in the state. MAPSA assists the state's public charter schools in their mission to deliver achievement, choice and accountability through our advocacy, communications, technical assistance and professional development services. For additional information, please visit

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Lansing, MI  48933
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