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VERY IMPORTANT!! Michigan Department of Education Guidelines for Service Consolidation Plans
By: Mike Flanagan, Superintendent of Public Instruction
November 14, 2009

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Guidelines for Service Consolidation Plans (SCPs) have been developed in accordance with the State School Aid Act (MCL 388.1611D). They were also developed in partnership with key education stakeholder groups. My intent was to get these Guidelines out to you well before the legislative 60-day deadline of December 18 to give you maximum planning time. The Guidelines are attached.

While participation in service consolidation planning is voluntary, the intent of these Guidelines is to encourage all districts to reduce school operating costs by consolidating services. The Guidelines promote a collaborative planning process; provide helpful tools to assist districts in this process, including a checklist and examples of allowable cost-sharing arrangements; and require involvement of key stakeholders. They follow the law, reinforce flexibility, give districts credit for what they have already done, and challenge districts to explore doing more.

The Guidelines must be followed when a district wants to ensure maximum flexibility by applying the $165 per pupil reduction to an allowable funding source under the State School Aid Act other than Section 22B. A signed Agreement with me pledging, through a local board of education resolution, that the district will develop a Service Consolidation Plan (SCP) is all that is required.

Although the law requires that Agreements must be signed no later than February 1, 2010, I am personally challenging each and every one of you to sign an Agreement as soon as possible to assure maximum flexibility in using your funds. We have not created a new bureaucracy for this process; it is simple and places the burden of accountability on the district. It is an Agreement built on trust.

We are in an unprecedented time in Michigan’s economy – a fiscal crisis with a new permanent reality. At the State Board of Education meeting on October 26, 2009, Lou Glazer from Michigan Future, Inc. stressed that Michigan has gone from being one of the top 10 states to 34th in Four-Year Degree Attainment using 2008 data. Per capita income has gone from 16th to 33rd. If nothing is done, Michigan will end the decade as one of the 10 poorest states in the country. This sense of urgency cannot be ignored; the time to plan is now. Please embrace this opportunity.

Attachment: MDE Guidelines for Service Consolidation Plans Nov 12
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