From the Argus
In a surprise move, the Howell school board on Monday approved a resolution aimed at weakening or eliminating the influence that a union-affiliated association called MESSA has on the cost of health-care benefits for teachers and other union employees.
By a 7-0 vote with virtually no comment or explanation, the board voted to name the Howell Public Schools as the policyholder for employees represented by the Howell Education Association and HESPA, which represents support personnel.
Such a move would replace MESSA as the policyholder for both groups. MESSA, which stands for the Michigan Educational Special Services Association, is affiliated with the statewide Michigan Education Association union, and has been targeted by some as unnecessarily expensive.
If this is true, this is a great start. We'll see what happens in the final contract however, as that is the real key in all of this. The 7-0 vote is the most shocking part of this, especially before a school board election. MESSA and their overhead costs and lobbying kickbacks need to go. This is a key issue that will be followed closely here.
As for "Booksgate", no surprises there. The board is generally split 4-1-1 (With Westmoreland as an independent vote) and the battle between the LOVE Group and School administrators is personal. It's not about policy anymore but personalities. There was no way that LOVE's proposals would go anywhere but down under the current setup.
The one thing really dissapointing me on the books issue is that there is no change in the vetting process for the books. All the checks and balances are within school officials and the whole "Ivory Tower" and doesn't go out to Joe/Jane public. There are two different settings, and some don't understand what goes on in the other setting. That could have ended future erputions on this and lead to an acceptable solution.
Lastly - The school board filing deadline is today. 4PM