Brighton, Mich., May 1, 2017 – Educational service provider, CS Partners, announced today the addition of Chris Matheson as Director of the School Performance Team. In working with close to 20 Michigan charter schools, the school performance team is vital to advising and directing school leadership, ensuring curriculum and special education programs are compliant, and helping each school provide their students the best education consistent with the schools’ mission.

Mary Kay Shields, President of CS Partners stated, “Chris clearly stood out in our search with his multiple levels of education and experience, his knowledge of leadership development, pedagogical methodology and research, and the ability to make mission-driven decisions in the face of complex issues and parameters. We’re excited to welcome him to our team.”

Chris said, “I believe a positive school culture is based upon the tenets of respect, relationships, responsibility, and a relentless focus on results. I’m looking forward to being part of a hands-on, service oriented company like CS Partners, and working with the many incredible people here and at the schools we serve.”

Matheson joins the team at CS Partners with 18 years of experience in the field of education, including his recent position as Area Superintendent for a Grand Rapids charter school management company. He earned a bachelor’s and Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan–Flint, a Master of Arts in History from the University of Alabama, an Education Specialist degree from Oakland University, and is finishing work on a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Michigan–Flint. He resides with his family in Grand Blanc, Mich.

CS Partners is a growing Michigan based educational service provider headquartered in Brighton. Founded in 2004 the company is focused on school reform and provides full management services for 18 Michigan charter schools. CS Partners focuses their support of schools on their seven indicators of excellence: Correlates of Effective Schools; Marzano’s Instructional Strategies; Student Achievement; Student Enrollment and Retention; Balanced Budget; Rules and Compliance; and Innovation. In addition to full management services, CS Partners provides other charter school services, including human resources and budget support through their affiliate company MEP Services.


Working with Michigan schools we experience our own seasons, and spring brings a couple of important pieces to the school funding puzzle. First, the Governor and State legislators lay out their proposed upcoming budget which can have a significant impact on students and education. This is also the time of year when those of us in the school business start to plan for how the upcoming year’s financial resources can best be spent to improve student achievement.

Although recent years have seen incremental increases in per pupil funding here in Michigan, we continue to recover from the $470 per pupil funding cut in the 2011-12 school year. Governor Snyder proposed his budget a few weeks ago with $100 per pupil increase. Since then, both houses of the state legislature have come out with similar proposals. A couple of the important points are:

  • The Governor’s recommendation of an additional $50 per pupil for high school students, reasoning that, among other things, high school students are more expensive to educate than their younger counterparts. Until there is equitable funding for charter schools to recognize and rectify the inequity of the base, it makes no sense to go down the road of more refined differentiation built on such an uneven base.
  • The Senate’s proposal to take some of the funds that have been used in recent years to offset the increased traditional pension system costs and putting them back into the foundation allowance. This trend is one that we can really support. We, as charter school operators, work to find alternative ways to support our teachers’ retirement and the failed system of the traditional district’s unaffordable and unfunded retirement is not something that should take money away from today’s students.
  • All three proposals include increasing funding for at-risk students. This funding is very valuable in areas where children’s needs are the greatest. In our work with many charter schools, we see that at-risk students require not only additional curricular resources, but also additional staff that can meet their needs on a more specific level.

At CS Partners, our work with our school leaders and boards on budgets at this time of the year is critical. Not only are we ensuring that the current year’s resources continue to be spent in accordance with the school’s plan, but we are simultaneously looking forward to next year’s resources and challenges. For the last few years, we’ve applied an approach to budgeting that starts with the 3-5 most important priorities of each Academy.

A common priority of all schools is staff retention. In the current teaching environment where teachers are in high demand, the retention of our best teachers is critical to the success of kids. We continue to work to secure the best salaries and benefits that funding will allow for our staff, and spend the majority of our planning time designing a quality staffing plan for each school year.

Other priorities include everything from roofing and security systems to Chromebooks and other technology needs. Each school’s unique mission and vision drives their priorities. We are continually examining the resources available to ensure the most essential priorities are addressed.

It will be well into the warm months of summer before all the 2017-18 puzzle pieces are in place for schools, but with adequate preparation we’re looking forward to another successful school year!

Written by: Laura Carpenter, Comptroller at CS Partners


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On August 23, 2016, Huron Academy held an official ribbon cutting ceremony for their new upper elementary – middle school campus on Utica Road in Clinton Township, MI.  The new campus will house grades 3 through 7, with PreK-2 remaining at the existing site on Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights.  Seventeen years ago Huron entered […]

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On January 18, 2017, the Brighton campus of FlexTech High School officially opened its new space with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. and an Open House from 5–7 p.m. This new space is a nearly 14,000-square-foot extension that maintains and enhances the school’s commitment to creating a learning space where students are encouraged to play […]

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The Promise and Practice of Blended Learning

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In his 2008 book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, Clayton Christensen lays out a compelling case for scrapping education as we’ve known it, identifying antiquated practices created for a society that no longer exists and acknowledging that today’s students (and more and more their teachers and parents) simply […]

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Trauma Informed Teaching in Action

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CS Partners promotes and supports innovation as one way to meet the needs of the whole child and is committed to innovation as a path to educational reform. A great example of this that I would like to highlight is the innovative leadership and educational reform efforts at Clara B. Ford Academy. Driven by the […]

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