A controversial measure to give enhancement millage money to for-profit charter schools has passed both chambers of the Legislature and awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. SB 574 was opposed by MEA along with community, school, and parent groups.
However, MEA and others fighting against the bill were successful in getting important changes made to the final legislation, according to MEA Lobbyist Christina Canfield:
- Virtual schools will not be allowed to receive money from a regional enhancement millage unless 100 percent of their students reside inside the intermediate school district’s boundaries.
- For-profit charter schools will be excluded if the company’s two most recent financial audits include unresolved issues.
- The new law will not apply retroactively to enhancement millages already approved by voters until they are renewed.
School employees and voters should not shy away from passing future enhancement millages because of these changes, Canfield said. Enhancement millages are regional tax levies approved by voters within a region and administered by intermediate school districts.
Charter school enrollment dropped this year for the first time since 2012 – a sign that parents are seeing the lack of quality and stability in the sector. In most areas of Michigan, the amount of enhancement millage money distributed to charter schools will remain small, Canfield said.