Mich. School Superintendent Mike Flanagan Talks Online Learning - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Mich. School Superintendent Mike Flanagan Talks Online Learning

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Every three months, the states top educator appears before lawmakers to update them on the financial condition of Michigan schools. 55 of them are in a deficit position and State Superintendent Mike Lantana is not sure if that number is going up or down depending on students count numbers date on October 2.

But Flanagan told the lawmakers that as consolidation efforts are being promoted to save tax dollars, some districts don't want to partner with districts with a large minority population. "Are other nearby districts willing to partner with them and is race one of the issues they may or may not be. I do worry about that. I don't want to judge it. It's worked in a lot of places, but we're still stuck with some of this and it has an impact on decision."

GOP Rep. Bill Rogers agrees with that assessment, but adds another factor: teen age gangs. "I have had some superintendents come to me and say we still have to deal with this, putting this group that happens to be part of this gang, without regard to race, and moving into that system, we could create some turf wars."

Flanagan is also worried about local schools going deeper in debt because some students are getting their education on line and not in the classroom. He supports the so called virtual education, but thinks the state is moving too fast and every student that walks out of the school, takes $7,000 with them.

"If you are a district and you are counting on 5,000 kids and 4,000 show up because a bunch of them went on-line, that's a hard thing to adjust to financially," said Flanagan.

Lawmakers lifted the cap on virtual schools, rather than wait two years for several pilot programs to prove their worth as Flanagan had recommended. 

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