Bob Kefgen's blog
This week, Governor Snyder signed a bill that will mandate that districts include genocide education in the secondary level social studies curriculum. HB 4493, sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Twp.), requires districts cover at least the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide at some point during grades 8-12 and recommends, though does not require, a total of 6 hours of instruction during that window.
The Michigan state legislature has recessed for the summer, but not before they moved forward on a plethora of legislation, both good and bad. On the up side: the 2016-17 School Aid budget is on its way to the Governor; legislation to expand the allowable uses of sinking funds to include technology and security passed the House; the House also passed a fix to Michigan's appraisal law to prevent the intentional devaluation of big box stores in order to avoid taxes.
Legislation that passed the House last week to restructure the Detroit Public Schools has made it across the finish line and is on its way to Governor Snyder's desk. After months of back and forth negotiations and countless revisions, the final version of the legislation is effectively identical to the bills that passed the House last week and still contains provisions that were opposed by most education groups such as mandating that Detroit use a primarily merit-based compensation system for its employees and allowing the use of uncertified teachers.
On Tuesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that the law passed in 2010 requiring Michigan public school employees to contribute three percent of their pay for retiree health care benefits was unconstitutional. The court ordered that school employees be refunded their money with interest. However, since an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is possible, this still may not be the final word on the subject.
The Detroit Chamber hosted their annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island this week, an event that typically results in a short session week as many legislators leave town to attend the conference…and while the Senate held true to form, the House decided to hold session rather than head to the Island. Both chambers reached agreement on final budgets this week and managed to report them out of their respective conference committees before the Senate left town.