Lawmakers Threatened Home Rule While Michigan Slept

lanternMichigan lawmakers were burning the midnight oil, trying to ram through willy-nilly as much legislation as they possibly could before they go on summer break in a week. Much of it ill-planned and poorly written, as is the case with a governing body that has nearly no institutional memory under term limit restrictions.

When Buena Vista Schools shut their doors last month, lawmakers hastily slapped together one set of bills designed to convey the authority to the state to dissolve smaller school districts in the blink of an eye and transfer their students to another district. Within a couple of days they rewrote their scheme with an added bonus of giving the “receiving” district a 10 percent bump in per pupil funding on the transferred students for four years. That works out to an additional $2,800 to $3,600 per transplant over that period of time, on top of their regular foundation grant.

Last night while Michigan slept, the House passed their latest incarnation of this consolidation scheme, HB 4813 and HB 4815.

While they can pat themselves on the back for ensuring this isn’t seen as another un-funded mandate to the receiving district, it in no way addresses the underlying systemic funding problems with Michigan’s schools. And of course, none of this serves the debt-load of the dissolved district — it still exists for that community. Those legacy costs don’t magically disappear. Additionally, it is little more than buying into the myth that consolidation saves money.

This is reactionary lawmaking — the kind that inevitably leads to tragic unforeseen consequences…and more bad laws.

Amy Kerr Hardin

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One Response to Lawmakers Threatened Home Rule While Michigan Slept

  1. Ramona Grigg says:

    Amy, thank you so much for the service you provide here. What is happening in our great state is unbelievable, and I’m afraid there are still too many who either can’t see it or don’t want to. I don’t use the word “evil” often, but what I’m seeing with this government is pure evil.

    We have to get these messages out before 2014 so we can put a stop to this. Unfortunately, even if they lose they still have plenty of time to do more damage. Passing all you do here along. Keep up the good work. And know that there are some out there who appreciate it.

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