Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on March 23, 1999 · Page 13
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 13

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
Page 13
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TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 1999DETROIT FREE PRESS 3B ill would open schools, sports to By tamara Audi Free Press Staff Wriler Turning his attention to schools beyond Detroit, Gov. John Engler last week proposed a bill that would allow children to attend public schools outside their county and would force school districts to allow home-schooled and charter school students on their sports teams. The Accountability, Accessibility and Choice proposal would also change how schools count students and get state aid a move that will serve growing districts well but mean less money for districts with shrinking enrollment. In aging districts near Detroit that are losing students, educators fear the new counting method could force them to borrow money or cut programs. It would require more counts during the year and reduce funding if enrollment drops. "It would be a nightmare for us," said Ferndale schools Superintendent Marcee Martin, whose Refusal to take test OK by court Drunken-driving suspect off the hook By Dawson Bell Free Press Lansing Bureau LANSING In a decision sure to' anger police and prosecutors across Michigan, the state Court of Appeals has decided that a suspected drunken driver who refused a blood-alcohol test cannot be prosecuted because he was polite about it. The court, in a 2-1 opinion released Monday, upheld lower court rulings that a Monroe County man was not resisting and obstructing a police officer when he repeatedly said "no" to requests that he submit to testing. Harry Philabaun neither "actively interfered nor threatened to interfere with a valid police duty," the court majority said. Philabaun was arrested in August 1996 by a Monroe County Sheriff's Department deputy after he allegedly drove the wrong way onto a ramp of 1-75, according to the court file. When he refused to submit to a Breathalyzer, the deputy drove him to the hospital and obtained a search warrant for a blood test. Philabaun also declined to take the blood test. Monroe County Prosecutor Edward Swinkey said the decision means "all a person has to do to avoid conviction is say no." In effect, police officers are placed in a position where they have to use physical force with a suspect and "invite a brawl" to make the obstructing charge . stick, Swinkey said. He said the appeals court decision is likely to be appealed. Dawson Bell can be reached at 1-517-372-8660. Robbers target 4 Oakland County A video surveillance camera in Great Lakes Bank in Lathrup Village took this image of two suspects in a robbery Friday. Three other Oakland County banks were targets of robbers last week. Charter, home-schooled pupils could join public teams district decided to close two elementary schools for lack of students. "Just because you lose a few students during the year doesn't mean you have to stop paying for teachers for the students that are still there. My costs don't necessarily go down when my student population does." Districts count students twice a year and get state money for each child. Forty percent of the money comes after the first count and the rest after the second. Even if a district loses students between counts, it keeps the first installment of state cash. But if a district gains students, it may not get all the money it is owed. Engler's proposal would mean a more accurate distribution of money. Schools would get only 20 percent before the year starts, and then 80 percent after more counts are done. In the proposal, f : Matzah is a traditional form of unleavened bread eaten during the observance of Passover, which begins at sundown on March 31. At the Matzah Factory at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield Township, preschool students are getting into the spirit. Above, Ganeinu preschool students Mendel Forta, 4, left, and Mendy Bennett, 5, are nearly up to their elbows Monday while mixing dough used to make matzah. Preschoolers joining in the rolling of dough are, from left facing the camera: Ariel Stollman, 3, Shira Finman, 3, Tova Braver, 3, and Avi Mendelsohn, 4. Rabbinical students serving as matzah bakers are Zev Adler, holding dough, and Shraga Mann. Matzah Factory tours are being offered for school groups through Thursday. Public tours are set for Sunday. Call 1-248-661-1011 or 1-248-932-2889. Handout photo counts would be done monthly. But the proposal helps shrinking districts, advocates say, by allowing them to accept students from any county as long as parents provide transportation. Schools would not be obligated to accept students outside their county. Students can attend any school within their county, if the district allows it. More than 250 Michigan districts accept students from other districts in their counties. "This could be very positive for us," said Royal Oak Superintendent Steven Gaynor. To keep from closing more elementary schools, Royal Oak may expand the number of schools that accept students from outside the district. Engler's bill would let Royal Oak market itself to even more students. But others fear that districts with fewer resources would not be Rolling in the dough . i n y - r : Tat'? -M !jr j? BY BRIAN BALLOU Free Press Staff Writer Four bank robberies in 48 hours last week in Oakland County doubled this year's tally, an FBI official said Monday. "I don't know if it was because of the start of spring or what, but they were pretty active last week," said supervisory special agent Kevin Kendrick, based in Troy. Bank robberies are investigated by the FBI because they are federal offenses. The robberies last week at separate banks put the total for the year at eight. There were 18 in the county in 1998. "If it continues at this rate, we're going to pass that . . . before June. Obviously, that's a record that we don't want to beat," Kendrick said. The four recent robberies were unrelated, he said. The latest was 11 a.m. Friday at able to compete. "Competition within the county is good, but this is a step too far," said Southgate parent Mary Lamos, whose district is one of 11 school-of-choice districts in Wayne County. "I can see a lot of parents who live here but work in Oakland County making the trip north to put their kids in a school that gets more money than we do;" Some parents and educators also fear that Engler's push to open athletic teams and after-school clubs to home-schooled and charter school students will sap school resources. Under the bill, schools wouldn't be reimbursed for allowing students to participate. Charter schools, publicly funded but not part of local districts, typically do not have enough students to form teams. And the state's estimated 30,000 students taught at home have the right to at the Matzah Factory IIMMIVIW banks over Unrelated incidents under FBI scrutiny Great Lakes Bank, 17535 W. Twelve Mile in Lathrup Village. Two men armed with handguns went into the bank, threw two tellers to the floor and demanded money. They left with an undisclosed amount. The first robbery last week occurred Wednesday at a bank branch inside the Kroger store on 8 Mile in Ferndale. A man walked into the Great Lakes Bank at 7:50 p.m. and passed a note demanding money to a clerk. The clerk told police the man implied he had a gun. The suspect left in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash. On Thursday, there were two afternoon bank robberies in the if-: "V all kids participate in tax-supported sports, advocates say. Ten states already require public schools to open extracurricular activities. There are about 1.5 million home-schooled students nationwide, according to the National Center for Home Education. But taking on charter school and home-schooled students places an unfair burden on public schools, some educators said. Others support accepting charter school students, as long as the charter helps fund the activities. "Charter school students are public school students too, and they should get all the opportunities public school students get," Michael Flanagan, superintendent of Wayne County's intermediate school district. "But some money should follow the student." The House of Representatives is expected to give first consideration to the bill in mid-April. Tamara Audi can be reached at 1-248-586-2622. Photos by PATRICIA BECKDetroit Free Press IMlllJIIWMMWUWfc .fI lW!jiJlt W"IWJ: 48 hours county. At 1 p.m., a man went into the Michigan National Bank at 23055 Telegraph in Southfield and flashed a handgun. "The tellers were pretty quick to react. They took cover behind the glass, and the suspect left with nothing," Kendrick said. The man left in a stolen Mustang, which was recovered later that day by Southfield Police. Later that day, about 3:50 p.m., a man went into the NBD Bank at 3166 W. Huron in Waterford and passed a note to one of the tellers. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money and ran from the bank. Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call the FBI at 1-248-879-6090. Brian Ballou can be reached at 1-248-586-2617 or by E-mail at : , . i 1 LINCOLN PARK Student wins right to wear star A Lincoln Park High School honor student won the right Monday to wear a pentagram to school as a symbol of her Wiccan religious beliefs. Crystal Seifferly's victory came when school attorneys signed a consent decree, agreeing to amend the school's antigang and cult policy. The policy had banned pentagrams five-pointed stars along with clothing and symbols of the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads, Satanists, street gangs, white supremacists, got hie rock and vampires. The policy that principal Thomas Kolka announced in October had called for confiscation of the outlawed items and indefinite suspensions for the students wearing them. According to the agreement reached Monday, pagans and witches are no longer listed as "groups not appropriate to the school setting." Seifferly, 17, is a believer in Wicca, whose members refer to themselves as witches. Contrary to gruesome Hollywood depictions, Seifferly whose parents are practicing Christians and other adherents say the religion stresses individual enlightenment, harmony with nature, a celebration of the seasons and the elements of earth, wind, fire and water. By Joe Swiekard GRAND RAPIDS Education fund on solid footing An 8-year-old scholarship fund has grown and next month will provide $15 million in scholarships to 3,700 families across the state. With Dick and Betsy DeVos leading the way, the Education Freedom Fund is dedicated to helping families move their children from public schools to religious and other private schools. "In our view, introducing school choice . . . will fundamentally improve education," Dick DeVos, president of Amway Corp., was quoted as saying in the Grand Rapids Press. Funding has come from a board of trustees studded with wealthy western Michiganians. Until recently, the group has kept a relatively low profile. That changed last fall when DeVos announced the fund had leveraged a $7.5-mil-lion grant from a national group by offering a match. The influx of cash means the Education Freedom Fund will increase scholarships more than seven-fold this year. Of the $7.5 million gathered for the match, $5 million came from Cardinal Adam Maida's fund-raising efforts in Detroit. The remaining $2.5 million was raised in the western portion of the state from a dozen or so major donors. Low- and moderate-income families across the state fill out an application and send it to the fund. The fund then has an outside company run a lottery to determine who will receive tuition assistance. Recipients choose the school they want their children to attend, and the checks are sent to the schools. About half the money goes to the Detroit area, 37 percent goes to western Michigan, while the remainder goes to outlying areas in the Lower Peninsula. The deadline for applications is March 31. For more information, call 1-800-805-5437. Recipients will be announced in mid-April. By the Associated Press MARQUETTE Spring evident in some UP spots In the Upper Peninsula, what the calendar designates as the first day of spring usually looks like just another winter day. But this year, it's different. Snowfall has tapered off and temperatures are milder than usual, and nature is dropping hints of a change of seasons. In some places, shoots of spring daffodils and crocuses have pushed through the soil. By the Associated Press

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