Among the legislation that made it across the finish line during lame duck session was a package of bills that seeks to overhaul how Michigan handles zero tolerance suspensions and expulsions. Specifically, the legislation provides greater autonomy for school districts by easing some of the mandatory expulsion provisions previously codified in state law. As is often the case with state law, though, the way these changes was executed is not as simple as the intent.
The Governor's budget presentation is two weeks away, no education committees have met yet, and only a handful of education bills have been introduced, but the House finally announced committees this week and the Senate is already gearing up for hearings, so we have at least an initial indication of the direction things may head to start the 2017-18 legislative session.
The 2016 lame duck legislative session saw the passage of a significant package of bills aimed at overhauling Michigan's laws regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. The changes DO NOT TAKE EFFECT UNTIL 2017-18, but it's important that Principals and other school officials familiarize themselves with some of the basic provisions of the new law in order to start planning mandated training and how best to implement changes where necessary.
Governor Snyder spent a great deal of time during his 2017 State of the State speech talking about Michigan's financial and economic improvements since he took office. While he did not speak at length about education issues and didn't offer any specific new proposals, there were a handful of issues discussed that are of specific interest to secondary principals.
The legislature returned to Lansing this week to officially begin their 2017-2018 legislative session and while there were no votes, both chambers showed us some early indication of their priorities for the coming two years by way of the bills that were introduced first. Noteworthy among those, Senator Pavlov announced he will be introducing a bill to repeal section 1280c of the School Code, the law that governs state takeovers of low performing schools and forces the publication of a top-to-bottom ranking list.