The League of Women Voters of the Midland Area believes that the Midland County Educational Service Agency (ESA) can serve an essential role in the delivery of educational services in this area. We do not wish to see the Midland ESA dissolved and integrated into a large regional unit. The constituent district school boards and the ESA Board should make every effort to cooperatively develop programs and services that recognize the differences in the local districts in order that the Midland ESA may function effectively for the benefit of all.
The functions of the ESA include:
1. Transmitting data from state and local and vice versa;
2. Facilitating cooperation between local districts;
3. Providing services to meet the needs of the local districts; and
4. Enforcing standards set by the state.
We recognize that the types of services provided by the ESA should be those agreed to by the constituent districts. We believe that instructional support services should have a high priority. Instructional programs, career and technical education and special education should all be areas of concern for the Midland ESA. Administrative services, with the exception of those mandated by the state, are of low priority. Services should be distributed to local districts on the basis of need, as identified through cooperation by local districts. The ESA should be responsible for program, policy and budget for these services.
We support area-wide millage for Career and Technical Education. The millage should be used for programs coordinated by the ESA. It should not be returned directly to local districts for independent use. The ESA should examine all alternatives, including a skill center and facilities dispersed throughout the district, and present the most efficient plan to the voters. Existing facilities should not be duplicated. The ESA should actively seek the cooperation of local districts in all phases of policy making, but should have ultimate responsibility for program, policy and budget, whether programs are operated directly by the ESA or contracted to local districts.
We support area-wide millage for special education. The millage should be used for programs coordinated by the ESA. It should not be returned directly to the local districts for independent use. The millage should be used to support and improve programs throughout the local districts. The ESA should actively seek the cooperation of the local districts in every phase of decision making, but should have the ultimate responsibility for program, policy and budget, whether the programs are operated by the ESA, the local school board or contracted to local districts.
League principles of openness and efficiency in government should be applied to the Midland ESA.