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Several west Michigan leaders will help inform statewide educational practices. 

Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointments of Grand Valley State University President Tom Haas, Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal and other west Michigan educational leaders on Friday. Haas will chair the commission. 

The 25-member board was created by the governor as part of the 21st Century Education Commission.

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 /

Michigan's 28 community colleges will receive smaller funding increases than anticipated.

Their funding is going up 1.4 percent overall, or $4.4 million, in the state budget that will take effect in October.

A conference committee approved the $396 million community colleges budget Thursday.

It is the first of 18 individual pieces of the budget to be hashed out since key lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder's administration reached a framework agreement after tax revenue projections were revised downward and anticipated Medicaid costs were adjusted upward.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he and Republican legislative leaders are close to brokering a budget agreement, with a "fairly short list" of issues left to be resolved.

The Republican governor left a closed-door meeting at the Capitol Tuesday morning and reported "good progress."

Snyder says the budget and talks about restructuring Detroit's ailing school district are "two separate issues."

The House and Senate are at odds over how much to spend on Detroit Public Schools and regulating charter schools in the city.

Courtesy, Michigan Department of Education

A west Michigan educator is the state’s Teacher of the Year. 

Tracy Horodyski of Kenowa Hills Public Schools received the award Friday from the Michigan Department of Education.

Horodyski is a reading interventionist and literacy coach at Zinser Elementary.

The department says she has 16 years of educational experience and was selected out of 178 Michigan nominees.

In a statement, Michigan Superintendent Brian Whiston calls her an “extraordinary representative of our Michigan teachers and the positive impact they make on our schoolchildren.”

Snyder, lawmakers look to trim spending

May 17, 2016
Coyau via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

There’s less money than expected for Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature to put together the next state budget. There’s also a shortfall in the current fiscal year.

John Roberts is Governor Snyder’s budget director.

He says the governor and state lawmakers can close the budget gap without jeopardizing money to address the Flint water crisis and the looming financial collapse of the Detroit Public Schools.

“Flint and DPS will continue to be a priority for us,” he said. “We see a way to balance with keeping those priorities funded.”

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 /

A parent wants to ban an anti-bullying children's book at a Grand Rapids-area school district because it's about a boy who likes to wear a dress.

Lee Markham contacted Forest Hills Public Schools administrators Wednesday with concerns about the book, "Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress," being read to his child's third-grade class.

He tells WOOD-TV that the book promotes another lifestyle that goes against societal norms.

Superintendent Dan Behm says the book was used in response to students who were asking questions about people who dress differently.

Hilary Farrell

West Michigan officials say robotics programs boost student engagement in engineering and science – as well as other skills.

Sarah Jespersen, Vered Heidenfeld and Ruby Taylor are sixth graders at C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy. And right now, they’re introducing Carl.

"He’s our FTC robot."

"He has four motors, one controlling each wheel." 

"And there’s two phones that talk to each other basically through WiFi direct, that tell him what to do basically. And it’s really cool because - I mean, they’re phones."

Two of Michigan's 32 prisons would be closed and prisoners moved to a privately owned facility under a cost-cutting plan approved by the state Senate.

The closures were OK'd 26-11 Wednesday as part of a $38.8 billion general spending bill.

The legislation does not specify which prisons should be shut down.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 23-13 for a $16.1 billion education budget that includes a per-student funding increase ranging from $60 to $120.

All Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon school district proposals received voter approval on Tuesday.

Most district measures passed by comfortable margins, including sinking funds for Grandville, Muskegon and North Muskegon public schools.

Other approvals included operating levies for Fruitport, Hudsonville, West Ottawa, Grand Haven and Zeeland public school districts, as well as bond proposals for Kenowa Hill and Jenison public schools, among others.

A $58.6 million bond proposal for Sparta Area Schools was one of the closest races.

A Michigan House committee approved a roughly $38 billion budget for most state departments.

The committee voted along party lines Wednesday to move the massive budget bill to the House floor.

Most Democrats passed on their votes, rather than directly voting against it after the GOP-controlled committee rejected dozens of their proposed amendments.

House Fiscal Agency Director Mary Ann Cleary says the total dollar amount will be slightly higher because the committee did approve a handful of other amendments.