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News From the Capitol, June 30, 2023
June 30, 2023 by MASB's Government Relations
  • 2023-2024 School Aid Budget Sent to the Governor
  • PERA Changes Pass Senate
  • Changes to Returning to Work After Retirement Pass House
  • Legislature Takes a Break

 

2023-2024 School Aid Budget Sent to the Governor

The House and Senate came to an agreement on the School Aid Budget late on Thursday. Senate Bill 173 was passed by the Senate by a vote of 29-8 and the House by a vote of 58-50. It will now go to the Governor for her consideration and approval. The bill includes the budgets for School Aid Fund, community colleges and universities. It also includes some funds for this year. 

It increases the per-pupil foundation by 5% to $9,608 and include free meals for all students, funding for pupil transportation and increases to at-risk funding, English language learners, special education and ISDs. 

MASB is excited to see many of these programs take effect with this budget, especially universal lunch and breakfast and the creation of a transportation categorical. The funding levels for transportation will be determined by the Department so we don’t have details on that formula yet. For special education, districts will receive 100% of the foundation allowance for special education students, fulfilling the steps taken last year that moved it to 85%.

Also of note, the Michigan Department of Education budget includes continued funding for school board training reimbursement at $150,000.

We are working to get the final detailed document up on our website for your review, we will be continually updating it as we work through the lengthy budget. If you missed our Views From the Capitol webinar today, you can watch it on our YouTube channel here. MSBO joined us to give a presentation on the budget and take questions from the more than 170 participants.

PERA Changes Pass Senate

Late Wednesday the Senate passed House Bills 4044, 4354, 4356-4357, and 4820 to make major changes to collective bargaining. All of them passed on a party-line vote. They are now headed to the Governor.

We have been opposed to these bills, particularly repealing teacher placement, layoff and recall, and discipline and discharge. We argue that it is the job of administrators to take whole building and district views of staffing and they need flexibility to address student and classroom needs. We stated we didn’t have an issue with the other items repealed in the bill. 

We also expressed concern with HB 4044 which says if a contract expires, districts would be required to give step raises, whether or not the school budget could afford them. If all  the subjects listed in HB4354 and 4356 are put back on the bargaining table, contracts may take longer to settle. Districts need the ability to make sure their budgets are fiscally responsible and balanced, especially in times when funding is cut or stagnant due to the economy or state fiscal decisions.

Finally, HB 4820 was a rushed bill and deserves more discussion to make sure it would not cause unnecessary confusion and problems if signed into law. This bill makes drastic changes to MCL 380.1248 regarding layoff and recall of teachers and only allows a teacher’s special training, disciplinary record and length of service in a grade level or subject area to be considered when placing teachers or handling layoffs.

MASA Executive Director Dr. Tina Kerr and MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba, CAE released the following statement yesterday: “We are disappointed in the passage of the PERA bills by the Senate last night, despite superintendents and school board members voicing their concerns over the past several months. Our members know the importance of district leadership having the ability to make decisions that are in the best interest of students and schools – especially when it comes to teacher placement and discipline/discharge. As the state faces a growing educator shortage, these policies will make it more difficult to attract and retain new talent. We look forward to working with the Legislature and Governor in the months ahead on policy that will positively affect our districts, students and public education in Michigan.”

Changes to Returning to Work After Retirement Pass House

On Wednesday, the House passed  House Bill 4752 by a 100 to 8 vote. This bill will amend the Public School Employees Retirement Act to address the current requirement that a retiree must wait 9 months after retirement before being able to substitute in a district without penalty to their pension. 

The bill would allow public school retirees to return to work without a 9-month waiting period and earn up to $10,100 per calendar year. If the $10,100 threshold is exceeded, penalties will be assessed against pension benefits. After the 9-month period, a person could work in district without a threshold for losing pension benefits.

The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Education.

Legislature Takes a Break

The House and Senate both adjourned on Wednesday for an extended break. The Senate adjourned until July 18 and the House until July 21. News From the Capitol will take a break too. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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