House adjourns without passing EAA and conversion school bills

The Michigan Legislature adjourned for the year early Friday morning without taking up legislation that would allow the creation of so-called "conversion schools" or a statewide school takeover district.

House Bill 6004 would have created a statewide takeover district by expanding the authority of the interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University that created the Education Achievement Authority, a virtual school district. It would have expanded the EAA's current reach from Detroit to the entire state, allowing Lansing bureaucrats to assume many of responsibilities currently entrusted to local school board members, parents and educators, and essentially eliminate the time-honored tradition of "neighborhood schools."

Senate Bill 620 would have allowed parents and teachers to vote to take control of a school building away from the local school district and give it to an intermediate school district, community college, public university or state bureaucrats at the Education Achievement Authority. The new "conversion schools" would have then been allowed to use uncertified teachers.

The House and Senate are not expected to meet again this month. Since all pending bills expire at the end of the two-year legislative session, House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 620 are effectively dead.

However, lawmakers could reintroduce one or both of the bills once the new legislative session begins in January. Capitol Comments will keep a close eye on the Legislature when it reconvenes after the holidays and will continue to update MEA members on any important legislative developments.