Legislative Updates Impacting HPS

The Holland Public Schools Board of Education and I monitor legislative considerations and actions closely at the federal and state level. We utilize our membership with the Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School administrators, Middle Cities Educaiton Association and the West Michigan Talent Triangle as our primary sources of information. Each month, a summary of legislative activities and their potential impact to HPS are discussed at our regular meetings of the board. A summary of these discussions are included on this page in order of current events. If you would like a chronological history, you may find these in our board meeting minutes by month under "Increasing Advocacy & Understanding."

At the bottom of this page I have also included the contact information for our area legislators.

Legislative Update, October 16, 2017

House Panel Debates Eliminating State Board

A resolution was considered by the House Education Reform Committee this week that would eliminate the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent. House Joint Resolution M (HJR M) sponsored by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) would create a Director of the State Department of Education and designate this individual as a gubernatorial appointee.
 
This resolution stems from the recommendations made in the Governor’s 21stCentury Education Commission report. Rep. Kelly stated that the State Board of Education remains a barrier to improving education in our state and restrictive to student improvement. The resolution is also sponsored by nine Republicans, including three members of the Education Reform Committee. Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) raised several questions to how this change would improve outcomes and the role of local school boards.

This resolution would require a constitutional amendment, therefore requiring support from two-thirds of the Legislature and would be included on the ballot during the next state general election.

Senate Committee Approves Expansion of Enhancement Millages

The Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 574 last week, which would require an ISD enhancement millage to be distributed to public school academies in addition to the traditional constituent districts the ISD serves.

MASB submitted testimony in opposition to the bill; unfortunately, the bill was approved by a 4-0 vote. The bill is being touted as a fairness issue for all students, however, we have many concerns with it. Traditional schools have costs beyond what PSAs do, most notably MPSERS payments and transportation costs. These millages allow those districts to offset some of those costs and keep dollars in the classroom.

SB 574 is now before the full Senate for its consideration and debate.

School Aid Supplemental Ready for Governor

The House passed Senate Bill 133.  The supplemental restores funding to a few of the items vetoed by the Governor and makes changes to a handful of other sections.

  • $5M for updating CTE equipment
  • Revises Section 31A criteria, serve same students as last year, revised criteria standards
  • Expands eligibility for GSRP, four years old by December 1
  • On average 3 hours of state required testing in each grade level tested

Substitute Teacher Bills to get Hearing in Senate Education Committee

The Senate Education Committee this week will take testimony on bills aiming to address the substitute teacher shortage. House Bills 4421-22 would eliminate the retirement surcharge placed on post-2010 retirees and eliminate the sunset provision on the critical shortage list. The critical shortage list is set to expire in July of 2018 if legislative action isn't taken.

The need is great as districts struggle to fill substitute teacher positions. Everyday more than 700 classrooms across the state go without a needed substitute teacher, leaving building administrators scrambling.  The Talent Triangle will be providing testimony and encourage the Senate to take swift action on this legislation.

A quick update on 3% Supreme Court Case

For those who have been waiting years to find out whether or not they will receive their 3 percent retirement contributions back there is good news. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court have been set for November 8. This means employees can expect final resolution on this issue by the summer of 2018. If the court rules in favor of the teachers the more than $550 million will be distributed back to employees. If the court rules in favor of Governor Snyder the money will be put to further reduce the unfunded liablity in the retirement system.

Legislative Update, September 18, 2017

Discussion with locally elected officials

Items of discussion that locally elected officials are discussing that have an impact on the operation of our schools include the following items:

  • Clarification on the definition/inclusion of school resource officers as key personnel of school districts subject to the new Zero Tolerance, Seclusion & Restraint Bill.
  • District schedules, calendar and pre-Labor Day starts
  • Post-Secondary teacher preparation.

In State level news: GSRP students score big gains on M-STEP

Four years ago Michigan made a bold statement by becoming a national leader in early childhood education. The $243 million investment in the Great Start Readiness Program held great promise as it was ushered in with support from the governor, legislature, education, business and philanthropic communities. The research was clear, invest early and reap the benefits of improved outcomes for kids. It's now been four years since the expansion took place. The results are in with the first group of GSRP children taking the third grade M-STEP test last spring.

For the West Michigan region, the promise held true as GSRP children - who are virtually all economically disadvantaged - outperformed their peers who may or may not have had an early childhood experience across the state by roughly 19 percent in reading and 16 percent in math. Furthermore, they outperformed all Michigan students, whom less than half qualify as economically disadvantaged, by roughly 2 percent in reading and 1.3 percent in Math.

For those who ask "is GSRP making a difference?" The answer is unequivocally yes. The resources put into this program produced a substantial return on investment. There is certainly more work to be done to improve academic outcomes for Michigan students, but early childhood education is clearly paying big dividends for students.

Legislative Update, July 14, 2017

The school aid budget and MPSERS rerform has been signed by Governor Snyder.

Legislative Update-July, 2017

The School Aid Budget is on its way to the Governor after legislative action this week. This budget process was full of drama, but in the end the final product was one of the better funding proposals under the Snyder administration. That is not to suggest there still isn't significant needs for additional resources. The recent Michigan school finance study and the Governor's own commission said as much. 

With that being said, here are some of the main points:

  • Foundation Increase -- $60 - $120 per pupil increase via 2X. The new minimum foundation is $7,631 and basic is $8,289
  • At-Risk Funding - An additional $120 million was put into at-risk categorical. It provides $777 per pupil. Districts that weren't previously eligible for at-risk funding will receive 30 percent ($233)
  • High School Per Pupil Bonus - The budget includes a $25 per pupil bonus for high school students
  • Shared-Time Programming - The vast majority of shared-time programming was restored. Full reimbursement will be provided for all pupils under .75 FTE
  • MPSERS - MPSERS offset (Sec. 147a - $100 million) was retained in the final product. Additional funds have been set aside to pay for the increased normal costs of the system as a result of the Assumed Rate of Return change and the new MPSERS legislation
  • MPSERS Debt Reduction -- $200 million was spent to pay down MPSERS debt

Now for the more controversial items:

  • This budget has the largest expenditure out of the SAF to date for universities and community colleges at $630 million. That is roughly $450 per pupil that is going to support those institutions.
  • Private school reimbursement funding was retained at $2.5 million despite the ongoing legal challenges to last year's appropriation.
  • Establishes a penalty in an amount equal to the amount spent if a district or ISD uses state funding to pay for an expense related to a legal action initiated by the district or ISD against the state. 
  • Establishes a penalty in an amount equal to 5% of a district or ISD's total State aid if it enters into a collective bargaining agreement that does any of the following: a) establishes racial or religious preferences b) automatically deducts union dues from paychecks c) is in conflict with any State or Federal transparency laws d) uses a method of compensation that does not comply with MCL 380.1250. 

Legislative Updates-June, 2017

New MSPERS Bills Pass House and Senate

As reported in earlier updates, both chambers of the Michigan Legislature quickly debated bothHB 4647 and SB 401 in the House and Senate respectively. The bills would make sweeping changes to the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) and put all new employees into a 401(k)-style defined contribution (DC) plan or an altered hybrid defined benefit (DB) plan that reflects the current Pension Plus plan.

  • Changes will apply to new employees hired after Feb. 1, 2018.
  • A new hybrid plan will be created with more conservative assumptions (6% assumed rates of returned and other assumptions yet to be determined).
  • New employees will default to an enhanced defined contribution system that matches the state plan (4% mandatory and a 3% match). Increased costs will be paid out of the State School Aid Fund.
  • Allows the ORS board to gradually change the retirement age for anyone hired after Feb. 1, 2018, if mortality rates change.
  • Disallows t he purchase of service credit for all employees
  • If the fund is underfunded below 85% for two consecutive years, the legislature will have 12 months to contribute or the hybrid will close

Budget Process Nears Completion​

Completing the state budget in June has long been a priority for Gov. Snyder, and it appears that this year was no exception. Following the MPSERS agreement between the governor’s office and Republican leadership, a finalized $55 billion budget agreement can be expected this week.

State Board of Education Approves Dashboard

The State Board of Education adopted its official policy regarding the state's accountability system for schools this week. The proposed tool contains a dashboard of various school performance areas, in which the performance of a district is compared to the state average as well as similar districts. Unlike previous proposals, the dashboard approved by the State Board does not contain a letter grading metric.

Creating the dashboard was necessary for the state to meet its mandated school accountability benchmarks under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The U.S. Department of Education (USED) is currently reviewing the state's model, and officials have yet to hear whether or not it will be approved.

Federal Update: Title II-A Funding

Over the next few weeks, MASA will be pursuing an aggressive federal campaign to lobby Congress on the importance of Title II-A funds for Michigan educators. These funds are on the chopping block under President Trump’s proposed budget, despite the critical role they play in helping school districts prepare, train and recruit top-notch talent. The impact to HPS is nearly -$142,000 and -$255,000 for Title I.

Contact Your Legislators

District 90, Holland

Representative Daniela Garcia

Mailing Address: Representative Daniela Garcia, N-1194 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone 517-373-0830  

E-mail: DanielaGarcia@house.mi.gov

Her Web Page is located at http://gophouse.org/representatives/westmi/garcia/

District 89, Park Township

Representative Jim Lilly

Mailing Address: Representative Jim Lilly,  N-1193 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone 517-373-0838  

JimLilly@house.mi.go

His Web Page is located at http://gophouse.org/representatives/westmi/lilly/

District 80, Laketown Township and Southern part of Holland City

Representative Mary Whiteford

Mailing Address: Representative Mary Whiteford, N-1099 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone 517-373-0836

E-mail: MaryWhiteford@house.mi.gov  

Her Web Page is located at http://gophouse.org/representatives/southwest/whiteford/

Senate District 30-Serving Ottawa County

Senator Arlan Meekhof

Mailing Address: Senator Alran B. Meekhof, PO Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone 517-373-6920 or 866-305-2130

E-mail: senameekhof@senate.michigan.gov

His Web Page is located at http://www.senatorarlanmeekhof.com/

Senate District 26-Serving Allegan County

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker

Mailing Address: Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, PO Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone 517-373-0793

E-mail: sentschuitmaker@senate.mi.gov

Her Web Page is located at http://www.senatortonyaschuitmaker.com/contact/

Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services

E-mail: Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov

His Web Page is located at http://www.michigan.gov/snyder