Legislative Priorities

The MASB Board of Directors approved the following priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session. These priorities will guide the work of the Government Relations staff. If you have any questions about the priorities, please contact Jennifer Smith, 517.327.5912.

  • Increase mental health services and professionals in schools and provide adequate state resources to allow schools to both educate and keep students and staff safe.
    School psychologists, social workers and counselors are critical supports for students and staff in our schools. These mental health professionals can support our teachers and aid students who are struggling emotionally or are troubled. Giving these students the proper supports early can prevent tragic events later and make all of our students and staff safer. The state should give districts the proper resources to increase the ratio of mental health professionals to students.
     
  • Review and implement recommendations of the School Finance Research Collaborative
    We have reached a time in education where there are many choices on how to receive it. We also know that education is provided for students from Pre-K to high school, and each child comes to school at a different level of preparedness. Each variation comes with a different expenditure, yet we provide revenue at a fixed amount. We must examine the costs of delivering education and adjust our school funding system accordingly. We must also examine the distribution system.
     
  • Protect the School Aid Fund and local revenues from state tax policy changes.
    As changes to state tax policy are considered, it needs to be acknowledged how those changes affect the public entities that receive the revenue. The School Aid Fund and local revenues need to be protected from all negative tax revenue changes made at the state level.
     
  • Specify that the School Aid Fund is only for PreK to 12th grade public education in Michigan’s Constitution. Also oppose any attempts to create private school voucher or tax credit programs.
    Throughout the last several years we’ve seen School Aid Fund dollars redirected to higher education and community colleges resulting in more than $900 million not available for our public schools each year. We must protect the integrity of the School Aid Fund by making sure it is only used for PreK to 12th grade public education.
     
  • Support mandatory training for all school board members, including public school academies.
    Research shows that board members who have the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to make effective decisions at the board table are able to more successfully support student achievement and financial stability in their districts.
     
  • Universal preschool for all 4-year-old children.
    Reaching children at a younger age increases a child’s achievement levels and reduces future remedial costs for school districts. Michigan currently does not fund slots for every 4-year-old child to participate in a preschool program nor does it completely fund slots for the neediest children in the state. Funding should be increased to give universal access to all 4-year-olds.
     
  • Support legislation that will put public school academies and management companies on equal footing with traditional public schools on issues related to transparency, reporting and treatment of employees. Also support reinstating a cap on charters and cyber schools.
    Billions of dollars each year are spent on public education in Michigan. Whether that money is sent to a traditional public school, a charter school or a cyber school, the public should be able to see how those dollars are spent. No school, including traditional public schools, should be able to hire a management company that does not provide transparency regarding expenditures of public funds that are fundamental to the operations of a school district. Finally, as we’ve seen the expansion of charter schools and cyber schools in Michigan without a meaningful increase in student achievement, a cap on the opening of new charter and cyber schools should be reinstated to make sure that all schools are operating with more stable student populations and raising achievement.
     
  • Support legislation to end unfunded mandates and determine actual costs of legislation.
    Over the years, local governments, including school districts, have been given more and more to do or abide by without funding to help make it happen. Legislation has been proposed in past sessions to support a fiscal note with every piece of legislation to determine its actual cost to local governments and schools. The Legislature should revisit these bills and take action to adopt standards that will create an environment of trust between local units of government and the State Legislature.