- Legislature Passes to Changes to Teacher and Administrator Evaluation Law
- Senate Passes FASFA Completion as a Graduation Requirement
- Senate Committee Approves New Hire Retirement Default
- Legislature Approves Limited School Supplemental Budget
- House Labor Approves Bill Requiring Minimum Staffing Levels
- House Committee Approves Criminal Sexual Misconduct Package
Legislature Passes Changes to Teacher and Administrator Evaluation Law
This week the House passed Senate Bill 395 by a vote of 56-54. This bill makes changes to the teacher and administrator law by removing the 40% growth based on the M-STEP, changing the ratings from four levels to three, and allowing a teacher who receives three effective ratings in a row to be evaluated every other or third year. The bill includes due process procedures for reviews of teachers and administrators rated as needing support.
The Senate concurred with the changes made in the House on Wednesday and sent the bill to the Governor for her expected signature. The changes will go into effect on July 1, 2024, for the 2024/2025 school year. You can find more detailed information about the bill in this week’s DashBoard article.
Senate Passes FASFA Completion as a Graduation Requirement
On Thursday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 463 (S-3) by a vote of 20-18. The bill mandates that a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to graduate high school.
The FASFA form is an important tool that can aid in postsecondary education for college-bound students. However, requiring the FASFA to be filled out as a requirement takes graduation out of the hands of the student as the application requires financial information that only the parent or guardian can provide. SB463 creates unnecessary barriers to graduation.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education.
Senate Committee Approves New Hire Retirement Default
On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee approved House Bill 5021 which changes the default retirement plan for new hires in a school district to Tier 1, the pension hybrid plan. Currently, a new hire to a school district is required to choose a retirement plan within 75 days of their hire date and if they do not, they default to a 401k, or the Tier 2 elective.
MASB supports this change along with many other education organizations. We believe it will lead to retention of teachers and staff, as well as give them more flexibility in their retirement options. The Michigan Office of Retirement Services also showed support. According to ORS, 58% of new hires fail to make an election, and defaulting them into the pension plan preserves flexibility for them to decide later if they wish to change to a 401k.
HB 5021 is now before the full Senate for consideration.
Legislature Approves Limited School Supplemental Budget
On Wednesday, the House and Senate approved two supplemental budget bills which included a few school related items.
Senate Bill 174 mostly cleaned up budget language from when it was passed in June. It also added intermediate school districts to the pupil transportation funding categorical.
House Bill 4292 included $$114.1M in School Aid Fund dollars for emergency loan debt relief for six school districts: Pontiac City School District, Benton Harbor Area Schools, Ypsilanti Community Schools, Muskegon Heights School District, Inkster Public Schools, and Willow Run Community Schools. This will allow them to pay off their outstanding loan balances and allow the millage revenues to be redirected to the classroom.
Both bills are headed to the Governor for her expected approval.
House Labor Approves Bill Requiring Minimum Staffing Levels
On Thursday, the House Labor Committee approved House Bill 4688 which would make staffing levels within a bargaining unit a mandatory subject of bargaining. Following an earlier hearing on this bill, MASB spoke with the bill sponsor and committee members about how this would affect public schools, how staffing levels are determined in our buildings, and the concerns with the impact this language would have on districts and their employees.
During Thursday’s committee hearing, the bill was amended to specify that this new mandatory subject of bargaining would only apply to public safety employees, such as police and fire, thereby removing school districts from the mandate. We appreciate and thank Rep. Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) and the committee for understanding and addressing our concerns.
House Bill 4688 is now before the full House for consideration.
House Committee Approves Criminal Sexual Misconduct Package
The House Criminal Justice Committee approved House Bills 4482-4487. This legislation will expand criminal and civil statutes of limitations for sexual misconduct crimes; create a two-year window for claims to be filed retroactively; as well as eliminate governmental immunity if the governmental entity knew or should have known of the sexual misconduct and failed to report it to law enforcement.
During committee, the governmental immunity bill, House Bill 4486, was amended to only include universities, colleges and K-12 public schools. This change, which would treat victims differently depending how where the incident occurred, along with many other concerns with the current language in the bill, have led MASB to be opposed to the package.
Our other concerns include the retroactivity piece and the possibility of loss of governmental immunity for an incident a school “should have known” about. This phrase is not defined and raises many questions about what it may mean in practice.
While there was an attempt to pass the package on the House Floor this week, it has been slowed down. We hope to be able to keep working with the bill sponsors and others to address our concerns.