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Michigan Back-To-School Plan Receives Mixed Reactions From Educators

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The Michigan legislature on Monday sent its back-to-school plan to the Governor’s desk.

The plan is receiving mixed reactions from education officials. 

The legislation will allow school districts to decide for themselves whether to hold in-person classes, stay online, or use a hybrid model. It also loosens per-pupil funding requirements, basing funding largely on the previous year’s headcount. 

Peter Spadafore is with the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. He said there are numerous problems with the legislation. 

“The fact that educators really didn’t have a chance to look at this bill before it was voted on is a huge issue that permeates this process.”

And, Spadafore said, the legislation doesn’t answer questions about school budgets. 

“We are now in the untenable position of running the school district, every school district in the state, absent a state budget.”

Spadafore said the Association is opposed to the legislation. 

David Crim, with the Michigan Education Association which represents teachers, is in support of the legislation. But, he acknowledged problems with the state’s education budget. 

“Given the pandemic’s effect on our state budget, that funding solution can only come from the Federal government,” he said. “Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell and the US Senate went on vacation until September.”

But, Crim said the legislation is ultimately a positive stepping stone towards a safer school year. 

Chris Parker is the Superintendent of Petoskey Public Schools. He voiced some frustration with the legislation - namely some of the additional reporting requirements around school plans. 

“It really clouds things up when you have to create yet another extended learning plan,” he said. “There are some good things and then there are some things where you go that is going to eat up a lot of time. We’ve already talked about how we’re going to meet a lot of these needs in our current plan.”

 The legislation now awaits a signature from the Governor.

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