This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

On Wednesday, Governor Snyder rolled out his eighth and final budget recommendation, which contained—among other things—a proposal for the largest single-year foundation increase since 2002: $120-240 per pupil on the 2X formula. Other highlights included three different per pupil increases targeted at special populations: $25 per pupil for high school students (a continuation of a provision the the current budget), $25 per pupil for students enrolled in CTE programs, and an additional $25 per pupil if the CTE program is in a high needs area. The House Education Reform Committee had a busy hearing on Thursday and reported out a slew of legislation including HB 5379—a bill to allow students to carry and use sunscreen and other similar products with parent permission (the law currently treats these topical products as over-the-counter medication and technically subjects them to the same rules as other medication)—and HB 4614 which cleans up a section of law that has inadvertently caught some educators in a situation where they are at risk of losing their teaching certificate. The panel also reported out bills that would create a new Enhanced Michigan Education Savings Program (E-MESP) to enable parents and others to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for non-core educational expenses such as pay-to-play fees or tutoring services...a proposal which would have a negative impact on School Aid revenue and represent a further shifting of the burden to fund school activities onto parents and away from the state. Finally, the committee took lengthy testimony on a new proposal (HB 5526) to create a new letter-grade-based school accountability system to replace MDE's recently released Parent Dashboard...a somewhat anti-climatic proposal since the bill has been so long in coming and since House Speaker Tom Leonard has said publicly that he supports leaving the existing Parent Dashboard in place.