Governor Issues Executive Order Regarding State Reform Office

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, March 18, 2015

Last week, the Governor issued Executive Order 2015-9, which moves the duties, functions and responsibilities of the State School Reform/Redesign Officer in the Michigan Department of Education to a new State Reform Office created in the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Specifically the Executive Order creates the State School Reform/Redesign Office within the DTMB. It then transfers the State School Reform/Redesign School District and its Officer from the MDE to the new office. Also, the duties of the Officer are transferred from the State Superintendent to a person hired by the Director of DTMB (who is appointed by the Governor).

Some of the duties being transferred include determining the lowest achieving 5 percent of public schools in the state, and any federal waivers related to the lowest achieving schools and “Race to the Top” grants. The new office will also be in charge of publicizing the list of the lowest achieving 5 percent of all public schools, issuing orders placing a school under the supervision of the State School Reform/Redesign Officer, and appointing a chief executive over the state reform/redesign district. This will also apply to public school academies, urban high schools and schools of excellence in the lowest 5 percent.

MASB has many concerns with this proposal especially due to the timing with the new superintendent of public instruction to be chosen soon. Also, DTMB does not have experience dealing with school districts and their unique circumstances; therefore, we believe this is better left within the Department of Education. The Governor has argued that MDE has not been effective in dealing with struggling schools. We believe that correcting that issue should be his focus, not recreating the office within a different department.

The State Board of Education also has some concerns as the Michigan Constitution states that "Leadership and general supervision over all public education, including adult education and instructional programs in state institutions, except as to institutions of higher education granting baccalaureate degrees, is vested in a state board of education. It shall serve as the general planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education, and shall advise the legislature as to the financial requirements in connection therewith."

They have respectfully requested that Gov. Snyder reconsider the executive order; read the full statement here.

The order is set to go into effect on May 4 (60 days after it was filed) unless it is rejected by the Legislature. MASB will continue to keep you up-to-date on this issue.

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