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New Laws Affecting the 2016-2017 School Year

Aaron Keel

By Aaron Keel, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Aug. 3, 2016

Since the beginning of last school year, the Legislature passed a number of bills that have now become law and will affect you during the upcoming school year. In addition to issues we’ve covered previously regarding the School Aid Budget, the following is a brief summary to make you aware of changes in law that could affect you.

For more information on any of these Public Acts, please visit the Michigan Legislature’s website, type in the Public Act number and select the appropriate year from the drop-down menu.

PA 164 of 2015—Bond Indebtedness

Allows the bond indebtedness of a school district that consolidates with another school district to be refinanced by the consolidated district. This law permits a district that consolidated with another district to retain its identity for the purpose of paying off the refinanced debt.

PA 173 of 2015—Evaluations

Requires an annual evaluation of teachers and administrators, including superintendents. It also requires training of all individuals who will be doing an evaluation by an individual trained to train others on the tool or a consultant on the tool.

PA 186 of 2015—Economics Credits

Allows half-credit of personal economics or financial literacy to satisfy the economics credit required as part of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

PA 219 of 2015—Critical Shortage

Reinstates the critical shortage list allowing schools to hire retirees to fill substitute positions, instructional coaches and positions identified as educator shortage areas by the State Superintendent without losing his or her pension.

PA 56 of 2016—References to GED

Replace references in statute to the General Educational Development test and certificate with references to the high school equivalency test and certificate. Requires the Department of Talent and Economic Development to approve at least one high school equivalency test, potentially allowing the use of high school completion tests other than the GED, and to determine whether a high school equivalency certificate meets state standards.

PA 170 of 2016—Genocide Curriculum

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, public schools must provide students a combined six hours of instruction between the grades of 8-12 on the topic of genocide, including the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The Michigan Department of Education must also develop curriculum and ensure that state assessments include questions on genocide, the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

PA 174 of 2016—Recreational Authorities

Allows two or more municipalities or school districts to establish a recreational authority for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, operating, maintaining or improving certain types of facilities, such as a public swimming pool, recreation center and auditorium. A recreational authority may levy a millage within its territory and issue bonds and notes to finance its facilities. Previously, school districts were not included in this law.

PA 192-197 of 2016—Restructuring of Detroit Public Schools

Multiple-bill package creates the new Detroit Community Schools district as of July 1, 2016, with the current Detroit Public Schools now only existing to collect the local taxes to pay off the debt. Funding from the Tobacco Settlement Fund will be used to make sure that the School Aid Fund is not adversely affected. The final agreement is very similar to the House-passed version of the bills as previously reported in Dashboard.

PA 244 of 2016—911 Location Equipment Installation

Extends the deadline to 2019 on the requirement that owners of buildings and all school buildings larger than 40,000 square feet with a multiline phone system must install equipment and software that reveals where in the building a 911 call comes from.

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