State Roundup


Online options expanding for Michigan students 
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Starting in January, Michigan’s public school students will get more choices in deciding how and where they want to take classes.
Public school students in grades 5-12 will be able to take up to two online courses per semester offered by Michigan districts or the state’s virtual school. A statewide catalog of online classes maintained by the Michigan Virtual University is being assembled this month.
Expanded online classes are set to begin in January, The Detroit News reported. Students need permission from their parents to sign up for classes, but they no longer need approval from their home school district, which has to pay providers for the courses.
Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of the state-created nonprofit Michigan Virtual University, said each district must decide whether the changes are an opportunity or a threat to local school budgets.
“They now have the ability to take their fine teaching staff and their expertise and serve kids in every ZIP code in the state,” he said. “The world is changing at a pretty rapid pace. All you have to do is talk to a 16-year-old. We are not really pushing the envelope — it’s 2013.”
For each course a student takes, their school district pays 1/12th of the state’s per-pupil allowance for a semester to the district offering the course or MVU. For example, using the state’s allowance of $7,076 for this school year, a semester course would cost $589.
The changes in Michigan school law approved in 2012 could expand virtual learning in Michigan, officials said. The classes are seen as a way to offer more flexibility for students, and the law requires that courses be taught by Michigan-certified teachers.
Vanasia Bradley, a competitive gymnast, takes two core courses from Michigan Virtual University as part of her curriculum at Canton High School in suburban Detroit, where she’s a freshman. For her, the online classes allow her to accommodate training and competition.
“With her travel for competition and then she trains for 30 hours a week — that’s where the online courses come in handy,” said her mother, Sherry Bradley.
City’s former EM to get paid $11K for 3 weeks’ work
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint’s former state-appointed emergency manager Michael Brown will be paid $11,000 by the cash-strapped city for about three weeks of work as a consultant.
The Flint Journal reports Brown’s work is from Oct. 8- 31 to show new state-appointed emergency manager Darnell Earley the ropes. While working as emergency manager in Flint, Brown was paid $170,000 annually by the state.
Brown says he’s set up 16 briefing sessions for him and Earley and various leaders on issues such as economic development, infrastructure and public safety. Brown says he wants to “make sure this transition is efficient and we don’t slow down.”
Earley signed a resolution about the work on Oct. 8 that was posted on the city’s website on Monday.
Bay City
Lawyer: Drop mu­rder charge in boy’s death 
BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — A lawyer for a man charged with killing a 4-year-old boy on a mid-Michigan Indian reservation wants a murder charge dropped in the case.
The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant reports a hearing for Anthony Bennett is Nov. 18 before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington.
Defense lawyer John Shea says in a motion seeking to dismiss the murder charge that the grand jury indictment “is unconstitutionally vague” and that it violates Bennett’s due process right “to adequate notice as to what constitutes the offense.”
Authorities say Bennett killed Carnel Chamberlain, who was the son of his girlfriend. The boy’s remains were found last year under his home on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation near Mount Pleasant. A trial has been scheduled for next year in Bay City.

Security upped at apartments where player slain 
YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — The off-campus apartment complex where Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed was found fatally shot is boosting security.
The Ann Arbor News reports University Green apartments began increasing security personnel and the frequency of patrols Friday, after the 20-year-old from Chicago was found shot multiple times in what police say may be a robbery.
On Monday night, however, police say an Eastern Michigan student was pistol-whipped during a break-in at the Ypsilanti apartment complex.