PRESS RELEASE: Charter school advocate joins School Finance Research Collaborative

Mary Kay Shields, former charter school advisor to Gov. John Engler, brings school finance and policy expertise to Collaborative  

LANSING, Mich. – Mary Kay Shields, a longtime charter school advisor and school finance and policy expert, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative. Shields brings decades of charter school leadership to the Collaborative, a broad-based group of business and education experts who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

“At the time of passage, Proposal A was a necessary change to school finance. However, after over 25 years, it is time to reexamine how the State of Michigan approaches funding education,” Shields said. “I am passionate about providing all children, whether attending traditional or charter public schools, the opportunity for a bright future through the delivery of a meaningful education. I look forward to lending my perspective and experience to this important endeavor.”

Shields is president of CS Partners, an organization that offers support for charter public schools. She began her career as a special education teacher, and worked on school finance and policy reform through her service with the Michigan House and Senate fiscal agencies. She later served as former Gov. John Engler’s Special Advisor for Charter Schools Development.

In 1999, Shields joined Central Michigan University, where she worked with the Center for Charter Schools and was Special Advisor to the President for Capitol Relations. In 2001, she left CMU to serve as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Charter Schools Institute. Shields also served as founding Executive Director of the Michigan Public Educational Facilities Authority, where she successfully helped charter public schools gain access to facility financing funds.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.
The Collaborative is planning to produce a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies that will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students.

###

For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

 

PRESS RELEASE: 21st Century Education Commission Report highlights need to reexamine school funding

LANSING, Mich. – The following statement was issued by Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, a School Finance Research Collaborative member, following the Friday, March 10, 2017 release of the 21st Century Education Commission Report.

“The 21st Century Education Commission Report validates the need to reexamine our approach to school funding so that all students, regardless of their income, geography or other circumstances, can achieve and succeed,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and School Finance Research Collaborative member. “The School Finance Research Collaborative applauds this report’s call for a fresh look at and new research on how we fund our schools.”

###

For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

 

PRESS RELEASE: Government finance turnaround expert joins School Finance Research Collaborative Advisory Committee

Jessica Thomas, who is aiding Royal Oak Charter Township’s financial recovery, has been recognized as one of Oakland County’s “40 Under 40”

LANSING, Mich. — Jessica Thomas, a local government turnaround expert who is currently Consent Agreement Consultant for Royal Oak Charter Township, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative Advisory Committee. In this role, Thomas will share her financial expertise with the Collaborative, a broad-based group of business and education experts who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

“It’s high time we reexamine our approach to how Michigan’s schools are funded to prepare all students for college and the 21st century workforce,” said Thomas, also vice president of the Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education and one of Oakland County’s“40 Under 40.” “I am honored and thrilled to lend my knowledge and expertise to the Collaborative Advisory Committee as we reexamine our approach to funding Michigan’s schools so all students can achieve and succeed.”

In January of 2016, Thomas was appointed to the Lincoln Park Receivership Transition Advisory Board after Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Lincoln Park financial emergency had been resolved.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

The Collaborative is planning to produce a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies that will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students.

###

For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1

PRESS RELEASE: Flat test scores highlight urgent need for research on school financing

The latest national comparison of school test scores could reveal challenges with the way we fund schools in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Flat test scores by Michigan students on a national test highlight the pressing need for a new, comprehensive look at how we fund Michigan’s public schools so all students can achieve and succeed, regardless of their circumstances, said a broad-based group of Michigan business and education experts.

The Detroit News reported on Feb. 20 that Michigan students had flat scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). According to the article, students are performing about as well as they did in 2003 when compared to their peers in other states.

“The report highlights the need for a comprehensive analysis of school funding that creates a roadmap for preparing all students for jobs and success, regardless of their income, location or other circumstances,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and member of the School Finance Research Collaborative. “We must reexamine our approach to funding our schools so all students can achieve and succeed, and that’s why this research is so important.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine how Michigan’s schools are funded in order to fully prepare all students for college and careers. The Collaborative is planning to produce a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies that will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students.

“These test scores should be a warning sign that more research is needed to determine how we can best prepare students for jobs, technical education and college,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, and a Collaborative member. “We need to
recruit top-notch talent to grow our businesses and fill the cutting-edge jobs of tomorrow, and our schools play a key role in that.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

###

For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1