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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Help the Sanchez-Ronquillo Family This Week

UPDATE May 16, 2017: Deportation delayed--for now.

Many of you may already know the story of Jose Sanchez-Ronquillo. 

The CHS Communicator gives some of the background, and a sense of the family, here.

As Lauren Slagter of M-Live noted on May 1, "The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, in Detroit, granted a temporary stay on Sanchez-Ronquillo's pending deportation on Monday, May 1, said Sanchez-Ronquillo's attorney Monica Smith."

Well, that was then. But now there is an emergency motion to deport Jose Luis before the Board of Immigration Appeals has a chance to hear motions about reopening the case.

I got an urgent email this weekend from a Bach/Slauson parent: 


"You may already be aware that one of our beloved Bach/Slauson/Pioneer community members, Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo, is in danger of being deported.  We've just received some upsetting news regarding his case.  The government has made an emergency motion to deport Jose Luis next Wednesday, 5/17, before the Board of Immigration Appeals has a chance to hear motions about reopening the case.  The government's motion will be heard in Detroit next Tuesday, 5/16 at noon

We have organized a rally to support Jose and his family on TUES, 5/16 @ 11am in Detroit.  I am wondering if there is any way the PTOC can help spread the word about this event?  A similar rally was held outside the courthouse during Yousef Ajin's hearing - many Community High School students attended this rally and they were successful in stopping his deportation.

SOME WAYS WE CAN HELP:

1.  SHARE the FB event widely on social media:  https://www.facebook.com/events/789048444596348/.  And spread the word to all your contacts.  

2.  ATTEND the Rally next Tuesday, 5/16 @ 11am - Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI, 48226.


The rally will be held Tuesday, May 16th, 11 a.m. at the Levin Courthouse in Detroit.

3.  WRITE letters of support, which will be given to the judge at the hearing (see sample letter below for ideas).  Email letters to louwsma@umich.edu, or to Jessica.prozinski@gmail.com by Monday night (5/15).  Letters should be addressed to: 

The Honorable David Lawson
231 W Lafayette Blvd # 628
Detroit, MI 48226

Thank you so much for helping this important family in our community!"

One more thing: If you are interested in immigration issues, the Washtenaw County Commissioners are considering a pro-immigrant resolution this Wednesday, May 17th at their Board of Commissioners meeting. Here is more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1829603477292520/



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Monday, May 1, 2017

Ann Arbor Voters: Vote Yes Tuesday May 2, 2017

Did you know there was an election coming up this Tuesday, May 2nd? Well, there is. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Both Ann Arbor schools and Ypsilanti schools have proposals on the ballot. [So if you live in the school district, you need to vote. It's not about whether you live in the city.]

Find your polling place here.

For Ann Arbor, the question is whether to support a Sinking Fund Millage. This could be considered a renewal PLUS. It is an increase over what we have had recently, but it replaces a millage that we currently have. The millage would go from 1.0 to 2.5 mills. Under state law, sinking fund proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries. They are used to meet facility/physical building needs, and if we don't have the millage, that money gets taken from the general fund. 


I'm supporting this millage. 



I was leaning that way anyway, but I came to this as a definitive conclusion while I was sitting at a Recreation Advisory Commission meeting. I've been on the RAC for about two years, and we meet where Rec & Ed's offices are, on the "back" (S. Seventh) side of Pioneer High School. And here it is, February or March, and it is raining outside, I walk into a room where the tables have been moved from their usual spots, because in the usual spots there are buckets catching the rain from a leaking roof. Not one bucket. Many buckets.





[The whole bucket theme now has me singing to myself, "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza/There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, my love/Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry/Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry my love." And actually, maybe that's a good metaphor for the sinking fund, because the song continues, "With what shall I fix it...?"]

When Allen School flooded, the district exhausted its insurance and had to dip into the general fund. They have since "upped" their insurance coverage, but anytime you have to dip into the general fund, that is taking away from teachers and other staff and from stuff for kids.

A few weeks ago, at another Recreation Advisory Commission, sitting in the same room, this time there are no buckets. However, it is hot! I wish I could say that being hot (or cold) is an unusual experience for teachers and kids in the district, but the fact is--it's not! Go into many classrooms in September or June, and you will find the rooms well over 80 degrees. I don't think this is the easiest way for kids to learn!

Let's face it, buildings need to be renewed or they fall apart. I'd rather that money came from the sinking fund than the general fund, because the general fund supports teachers, and is constantly under threat from the state legislature.

So--I'm supporting the sinking fund millage. Do I agree with all of the proposed ideas for how to spend the money? Probably about 90% of them. That's good enough for me--I probably only agree with myself about 90% of the time!

If you live in the Ann Arbor school district, please vote Tuesday May 2, 2017.

You can read more!

1. Ann Arbor Public Schools Information Page

2. Ann Arbor Citizens Millage Committee Web Page


What Does The Ballot Proposal Say?


This proposal would replace and extend the authority last approved by voters in 2013 and which expires with the 2019 levy for the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor to levy a sinking fund millage.  This proposal would allow the use of proceeds of the millage for all purposes previously permitted by law as well as newly authorized security improvements. 
As a replacement of existing authority, shall the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be authorized to levy 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the purpose of the construction or repair of school buildings, including school security improvements, and the improvement and development of sites and, to the extent permitted by law, for other purposes, including, but not limited to, the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of ten (10) years, being the years 2017 to 2026, inclusive?  It is estimated that 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $20,193,874 in the first year that it is levied. 
(Under state law, sinking fund proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries.)





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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ypsilanti Voters: Vote Yes Tuesday May 2nd, 2017

Did you know there was an election coming up this Tuesday, May 2nd? Well, there is. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Both Ann Arbor schools and Ypsilanti schools have proposals on the ballot. [So if you live in the school district, you need to vote. It's not about whether you live in the city.]

Find your polling place here.

If you are a voter living within the light purple boundaries, you need to vote!

Key Facts About the Ypsilanti Community Schools Proposal


1. Ypsilanti's proposal is really pretty simple. It is a renewal of a millage. It is basic maintenance of the status quo.

2. IF THE MILLAGE DOES NOT PASS, YCS will lose $2,370 per pupil each year.

3. 100% principal residential dwellings are not affected. This is a millage on what are called non-homestead uses. Non-homestead=industrial, business, second homes.

So please--vote yes.

This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance.  The remaining .5 mill is only available to be levied to restore millage lost as a result of a reduction required by the “Headlee” amendment to the Michigan Constitution of 1963, and will only be levied to the extent necessary to restore that reduction. 
Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Ypsilanti Community Schools, Washtenaw County, Michigan, be renewed by 18 mills ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) and also be increased by .5 mill ($0.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), for a period of 5 years, 2018 to 2022, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2018 is approximately $25,816,000 (18 mills of the above is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2017 levy and .5 mill is an increase in millage which will only be levied to the extent necessary to restore millage lost as a result of a reduction required by the Michigan Constitution of 1963)?


VOTE YES! PLEASE! 




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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Work to Stop the DeVos Nomination to the Department of Education

You may already know that Betsy DeVos has been nominated to be the U.S. Secretary of Education. The confirmation hearing is scheduled for next week, currently scheduled for January 17th, 2017.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has written a letter with a lot of detail about DeVos' record. Read it here.

Here's Mark Maynard's summary of her letter. He's got pretty pictures.

The Network for Public Education is (and I am) asking you to take action to oppose the DeVos nomination.

As NPE writes:

Below are committee members, along with their Washington phone number, fax numbers and local phone numbers. Often Washington numbers are busy. 
Please be sure to call every member prior to the January 17 hearing. 

Sample script: 
My name is xxxx and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos and her family heavily lobbied the Michigan legislature to shield the charter industry from greater oversight. She pushes for-profit charter schools and online schools, which consistently fail the students that they are supposed to serve.
I want my tax dollars to stay in my community to support my public schools.  Betsy DeVos is bad for American education. She is unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. 
(If you want to say more, read Sen. Warren's letter for lots of detail and ideas.)


US Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee



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