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News From the Capitol, June 16, 2023
June 16, 2023 by MASB Government Relations
  • House Education Committee Approves Labor Day Start Repeal  
  • Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining Vote Delayed
  • Senate Passes Bill Changing Student Discipline  
  • House Committee Considers School Counselor Ratio
  • House Committee Approves Sexual Assault Information Bill 
  • Senate Passes Bill on Merit Pay for DPSCD

 

House Education Committee Approves Labor Day Start Repeal  

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee unanimously approved House Bill 4671, which would repeal the requirement that schools start after Labor Day unless they receive a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education. MASB supports the bill. Districts should be able to decide locally when the school year should start. 

The bill is now before the full House for its consideration. We urge you to contact your Representative and ask them to support this bill and make this the district’s decision.

Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining Vote Delayed

As reported in DashBoard this week, the House was expected to bring House Bills 4354-4357 up for a vote on Wednesday. However, the bills were pulled from the agenda at the last minute.  Thank you to all who have reached out and talked to your Representatives about your concerns with these bills, it is certainly making a difference.

As we’ve previously stated, we agree that some of the items in these bills should be returned to the bargaining table. However, we remain opposed to including teacher placement, layoff and recall, and discipline and discharge. There can be real consequences for students, staff and potential new teachers if these are removed. 

If you haven’t already, we urge you to add your voice to this effort and share the effect these bills will have on your district, the ability to make sure the right teachers are in front of the right students, and collective bargaining as a whole. We have an alert on our website you can use to find talking points and contact your legislator. 

Senate Passes Bill Changing Student Discipline  

On Wednesday, the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee approved a package of bills that includes House Bill 4125. This bill states that a student cannot be suspended or expelled for more than ten days for an action arising from an incident in which the student claims they were sexually assaulted, unless the district considers the factors currently required for suspensions and expulsions longer than 10 days.

The purpose of the bill is to give students confidence that if they report an assault, or report witnessing an assault, while they were doing something against school rules, the assault will be treated seriously and they won’t get in trouble for the other action.  

The bill was later passed by a 30-8 vote and is now headed to the Governor for her consideration.

House Committee Considers School Counselor Ratio

On Thursday, the House Health Policy Committee began hearings on House Bill 4081 which would require all districts to maintain a ration of at least one school counselor for every 250 students enrolled.

We agree we need more counselors in schools but oppose the bill, as a mandated ratio is both unworkable and would be unfunded. We have staffing shortages in all areas in education, including counselors and other support staff in schools. Finding the staff to fill these ratios statewide would be impossible.  Also, this is a large expense for many districts that would not already be built into their budgets. 

Further hearings are expected.

House Committee Approves Sexual Assault Information Bill 

On Tuesday, the House Criminal Justice Committee approved Senate Bill 66 which would require materials related to sexual assault and harassment to be provided to students in grades 6 through 12 beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. The Michigan Department of Education would have to develop the materials for schools to distribute. Districts are also encouraged to provide all school personnel with training on how to respond to pupils who have experienced sexual assault or harassment at least every 5 years. 

MASB supports the bill, and it is now before the full House for consideration as part of a bigger package dealing with sexual assault.   

Senate Passes Bill on Merit Pay for DPSCD

This week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 359 by a vote of 21-17. This bill would repeal the ban against using length of service or achievement of an advanced degree as a factor in compensation for teachers hired after Sept. 1, 2019, in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Compensation for DPSCD teachers may only be based on student achievement. This restriction does not apply to any other district in Michigan.

The bill is now under consideration by the House Education Committee and a hearing is expected next week.

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