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Barry Intermediate School District proceeds with appeal

Luke Froncheck, Staff Writer, reports the Barry Intermediate School District is in the process of appealing a decision handed down by the state in an April financial report which recommended the removal of its Great Start Readiness Program from the ISD. The state also recommended the removal of the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition.

Superintendent Richard Franklin, who requested an informal review process to look over the state’s decision, said this will allow both parties to walk through the findings to clear up some discrepancies. He also said the informal review process tends to be faster than a formal process.

“As time goes on, there will be other considerations that come into place,” Franklin said. “King Solomon had the two mothers who came to him with one baby. One mother had rolled over on her baby in the night. Both women came claiming the baby was theirs, one being the real mother and the other being the fake. So King Solomon said, 'Fine, I’ll just cut the baby in half' and pulled out his sword, which caused the real mother to say it was the other woman's baby, which made King Solomon know that that was the actual mother.”

“We would give up the baby before we would let it get cut into pieces,” he said. “We want what’s best for the children and families, not what’s best for the ISD. At this point, not only do we think we haven’t done anything wrong; we think we’re best positioned to run and offer these programs.

“We’re just working on the process with MDE.”

As Barry ISD begins the appeal process, they first must file their appeal to the director of the Michigan Department of Education office that administers the grant.

Here's how MDE describes the process:

The appeal must be submitted no later than 30 calendar days after the date the ISD was notified of the decision to remove the programs. The appeal also must include a description of what is being disputed, the reason for the disagreement, the desired outcome for the appeal, and data to back up their claims.

Next, according to state guidelines, the office directors will review the appeal and the MDE documents related to the issue and they will have the opportunity to direct further investigation or request additional documentation on the topic.

The director has to issue a written decision, either confirming the original decision, or granting all, or some, of the appeal with the appropriate resolution. The ISD then has 30 days following the director’s decision to submit another appeal to the state superintendent.

Assuming the entity does not submit a further appeal, the director's decision would become the final agency decision and is put into effect. Adjustments to the grant, if any, are then made to comply with the director’s decision.

If the ISD does not agree with the director's decision, they would have the opportunity to appeal to the state superintendent, and that must include their reasoning for further review. The ISD would once again have 30 days from the date when it received the director's decision to file the additional appeal. The appeal can only include the written request and the information or documentation that was presented in the original appeal to the director.

Once the appeal is received by the state superintendent’s office, it would be assigned to the appropriate deputy superintendent for review. The appeal file can only include the documents that were given to the director in the initial review. However, the deputy superintendent reviewing the decision can request further information relating to the issue. The decision of the deputy superintendent would serve as a recommendation for the state superintendent.

The decision – made within 30 days from the receipt of the ISD's written request – would either affirm, reverse, or modify the director’s decision. Appropriate adjustments would then be made to the grant to fall in line with the state superintendent's decision.

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