Schools get money to try out a year-round calendar

Seven schools will benefit from a $2 million pilot program established in the new state education budget that helps them switch to an alternative school calendar. The State Board of Education is expected to approve five schools and two more schools will receive money through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to offset costs. All seven schools are moving to a year-round calendar.

Detroit’s GEE Edmonson Academy will get $395,000 and Muskegon Heights Public School Academy will receive $750,000—the largest amount. Both schools are charter schools. 

Madison School District in Lenawee County will get $333,765; Port Huron Area School District gets $375,235; and Ypsilanti Community Schools will receive only $146,000 instead of the $507,000 they asked for.

Baldwin Community Schools and Madison District Public Schools in Oakland County will each receive $750,000 from MEDC. 

School districts and charter schools applying had to commit to keeping the alternative calendar for at least three years. Only districts that have a high percentage of free and reduced lunch-eligible students could apply. The money is to be used to cover costs like installing air conditioning and other set-up expenses.

Watersmeet Township Public Schools was one of the original districts chosen and set to get $709,000, but the district has since returned the money because of a lack of community support for the new calendar plan.

Four other districts and charter schools had their requests denied.