Company approaches Posen about education arrangement
onsolidated Schools Board of Education want more information before entering into an agreement with Michigan Education Partnership.
Company CEO Dennis Dunlap gave a presentation at the school board’s meeting Monday explaining how the arrangement allows his company to educate non-traditional students while Posen would financially benefit. Through recent changes in state law, Michigan Education Partnership would teach the students via online classes, keeping them on track through one-on-one sessions. Posen would obtain a building code for its own alternative school, and any students enrolled through the agreement between the district and Dunlap’s company would be considered students of the alternative school.
Posen wouldn’t be involved in teaching the students, and their grades, attendance and dropout statistics wouldn’t count against the district, Dunlap said. Instead, his company would teach them according to Posen’s curriculum. The school would receive 10 percent of the state aid for each student enrolled through the agreement, meaning the district could reap a financial windfall. Dunlap presented numbers showing that if 50 students enrolled, Posen Schools could get $31,842 after the fall student count.
“We have a niche in how to help districts create another funding stream,” he said.
However, board members were skeptical and asked Dunlap lots of questions. Even student council President Jaden Styma had a few.
Dunlap had answers: students who graduate will be receiving Posen diplomas, or whatever Posen decides they should receive. Michigan Education Partnership had 48 students in its first year, mostly working with those who aren’t being served. That includes migrant workers, students who have been adjudicated and alternative education students.
The risks are low, provided Posen obtains an alternative school building code and enrolls the students as non-full academic year ones, Dunlap said. But board members still thought it sounded too good to be true.
“I don’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger on this tonight,” board member Jesse Chappa said, asking Dunlap if there were any deadline or penalty for holding off on another month.
Dunlap said there is none on either count.
Board President Ken Wozniak agreed, and the board opted to table the matter until they could talk to other districts currently participating.
That includes Ithaca Public Schools, which Superintendent John Palmer said reaped around $45,000 from the agreement.
“It’s obvious there’s a little hesitation, and that’s the way it should be,” Palmer said.
In other business:
* board members acknowledged the receipt of a $15,000 donation from Posen Sports Boosters. That makes for a total of $29,500 the organization has donated this school year, Palmer said. The money goes toward transportation costs for sports teams.
* board members retroactively approved the purchase of a water heater that needed emergency attention, Palmer said. It was leaking so badly he had to call board members before they could meet to approve the $3,929 purchase.
* board members approved hiring Paige Lewandowski as varsity volleyball coach and Laurie Maynard as junior varsity volleyball coach. The two positions will each be paid half the salary of the former varsity volleyball coach, Wozniak said.
* Posen’s broadcasting program will return for another year, as board members approved renewing an agreement between the district and Michigan Interscholastic Connection for $500. Hannah Pontius, who teaches the class to Posen students, said she thought it was a very worthwhile program, and that students had created 68 productions in the first year. She’s hoping that more will be interested in signing up now that they know what it is, and this year the class will be live-streaming the graduation ceremony via the MHSAA.tv website.