Southwest Michigan Today For Thursday August 31, 2017

Aug 31, 2017

Kalamazoo Public Schools has a tentative contract with the union representing its teachers. Kalamazoo State Representative Jon Hoadley announces legislation to protect call center workers in Michigan. State officials consider a replacement for the M-STEP. 

Kalamazoo Public Schools and the union representing its teachers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. Kalamazoo Education Association President Amanda Miller tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that the contract includes a step increase, a boost in contributions to health savings accounts, but no increase in base salary. The contract is not on the agenda for Thursday night’s Kalamazoo School Board meeting. The next meeting is not scheduled until after classes begin. However if the deal is ratified in time by KEA members, it could still be voted on Thursday.

State Representative Jon Hoadley has announced new legislation designed to protect Michigan call center workers. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that Hoadley announced the proposal during a rally Wednesday in downtown Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Democrat says the legislation would require companies to give the state 30 days notice before closing down call centers, or moving a large number of jobs overseas. Companies that move jobs overseas would also be disqualified from receiving state grants and loans.

Some units of the Michigan National Guard may head south to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Detroit Free Press says Guard officers have been told that deployment is a possibility. Michigan units would help the Texas National Guard in Houston and other areas affected by the storm. Michigan Guard units in Dowagiac and Grand Rapids are among those that could be activated. Some Michigan National Guard helicopters and other aircraft may also go to Texas.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will hold a public meeting on Asian carp in Muskegon next month. MLive says the forum will held at Muskegon Community College on September 14th. Corps officials say they'll talk about the agency's plan to stop the invasive fish from getting into Lake Michigan. The Corps of Engineers says it will beef up an electric barrier in a shipping canal near Chicago. It also plans to install a new hydraulic system to wash carp that get past the barrier back downstream.

State officials are searching for a new test that could replace the M-STEP. Students in grades three through eight have been taking the M-STEP since the 2014-15 school year. The Detroit News says educators and state education officials want a standardized test that takes less time to complete, and provides faster results. State officials are due to seek proposals for a new assessment by October first.