Waiving property taxes meant to lure new charter schools

To lure charter schools to Michigan, the Senate is using SB 618 to raise the cap on the number of charter school created. To sweeten the pot, Sen. Pavlov, sponsor of the bill, is considering waiving property taxes for charter schools. His reasoning is that they can’t collect taxes for new buildings or improvements like school districts so charter schools deserve this break.

“Tax payments for charters means taking money from the classroom,” said Pavlov—a move already accomplished by cutting funding to public schools.

Pavlov believes out-of-state, for-profit, private companies have been prevented from setting up shop in Michigan because of the current cap on charter schools. He said lifting the restriction and waving property taxes would provide healthy competition to public schools.

Testimony from SB 618 critics agree with MEA that lifting the cap would also destroy the concept of neighborhood schools. This legislation simply sets up private school districts that would divert state funding from public schools.

SB 618—sent to the full Senate floor last week—is part of a package of so-called education reform bills (SB 618-624). The Senate Education Committee meets Wednesday and is expected to take up the rest of the package.