Land O Links

* The Mackinac Center created a searchable database of public school superintendent compensation – a potentially useful tool for parents and patrons to compare their local leader to other districts. Of course, the unanswered question in all this is: How much should a superintendent make?

* Speaking of databases, the Michigan Municipal League has a new toy for local government wonks – or citizens who just would like to know how their communities are run. A couple of interesting tidbits:

- Coldwater (population 10,945) has a charter requirement of 1.5 firefighters for every 1,000 residents.

- Dearborn (population 98,153) has a charter requirement of 2.1 police officers for every 1,000 residents.

- Ferrysburg (population 2,892) has its mayor send a proclamation each year to Michigan’s U.S. senators and to its local congressman requesting a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Congress.

* The Michigan League for Public Policy has created a one-stop shop for information on various federal and state tax credit programs aimed at our society’s needier families.

* An expert on legislative bodies explains why citizens need to be careful with the “full-time” and “part-time” labels for legislatures. He offers a different approach: “The concept of legislative professionalization is designed to measure the capacity of legislatures and legislators to make policy decisions. Capacity, though, does not necessarily mean performance. A legislature with high capacity can perform poorly (Congress being an example), while legislatures with low capacity can perform at high levels.”

How much should water cost? “The Nature Conservancy did a poll last year: around the order of, I think it was 77 percent of Americans have essentially no idea where their water comes from. It just gives you some evidence to the point that I’m making, which is: if you don’t know what the impacts are of your resource use, then you likely don’t have much motivation to change your behavior for your consumption of that resource.”

* The result -- if you placed the Great Lakes in Europe.

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Dave Smethurst
Thu, 02/28/2013 - 9:28am
In looking at the salaries of Superintendents, I was struck by the high salaries of many ESD superintendents. As a retired educator, I often heard aspiring administrators say something like, "I want to be an ESD supe. You just have to schmooze the Board, manage of much smaller staff, don't have to be responsible for student learning, deal with parents, or people who don't like the coach who isn't playing their child." I also know that there are ESD supes who really work at educating students. There ought to be someone who takes a look at ESD's, their mission, metrics on success, and how much we are spending on them. It is a small part of the educaton finance picture, but none the less, should be of concern.