State Journal: Threats?; Finance flap; Vaccine update

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A Michigan Education Association official recently wrote to the president of Saginaw Valley State University, threatening to urge union members to cease professional involvement with the school and refuse to accept its students as teaching interns if it sets up a charter school without following M.E.A. guidelines.

"The loss of even one student to a charter school authorized by the university will have significant financial impact on local districts,'' David C. Sabedra, a regional M.E.A. official, said in the letter.

The union strongly opposed the law that authorized charter schools last year. But an M.E.A. spokesman said Mr. Sabedra wrote the letter on his own.

Mr. Sabedra, a Saginaw Valley State graduate, said in a statement that his letter "reiterated the feelings of 35 area educators and superintendents,'' and that the lack of response "generated a confrontational environment wherein districts and teachers kept in the dark as to the university's plan have no alternative but to fear the worst.''

Eric R. Gilbertson, the president of the university, told The Associated Press that it is studying charter-school options but has no firm plans to launch one.

Six Alabama businessmen have filed a complaint with the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission, arguing that a judge violated state ethics laws with ads touting his decision that the Alabama school-finance system is unconstitutional.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Eugene W. Reese is one of two Democratic candidates for an elected seat on the state supreme court.

The complaint argues that Judge Reese improperly used the case "to advance his own political aspirations'' and that he can no longer be impartial.

The judge ruled that the system violates the state constitution because of funding disparities and low overall quality.

Three of four Michigan districts cited under a vaccination law have taken actions to comply, leaving only Detroit at risk of losing state aid.

The state law required districts to insure that 90 percent of all kindergartners and other incoming students received certain vaccinations by May 14 or lose 5 percent of their aid.

Detroit stands to lose $3.9 million, said Bob Harris, a spokesman for the state education department.

Vol. 13, Issue 38

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