michigan school districts

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks on the Capitol steps about special education reforms at an October rally.
Courtesy photo / Michigan Governor's Office

While most of the rallies these days are focused on presidential candidates, a different kind of rally took place on the State Capitol lawn. 

Parents, lawmakers and advocates gathered on Wednesday to raise awareness for the needs of special education students.

A recent package of bills banning the use of restraint and seclusion in classrooms except in cases of an emergency is making its way through the legislature.

This legislation came from a recommendation by the Special Education Reform Task Force.

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia.org

The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a request for an advisory opinion on sending public money to private schools.

In a very brief order Wednesday, the court says it's not an "appropriate exercise" of the court's powers.

The state budget that began on Oct. 1 includes up to $2.5 million to help private schools meet the cost of complying with state rules, such as employee background checks, immunizations and safety requirements.

school lockers
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Poorly-performing Detroit schools could be closing soon. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion clarifying a section of the school code on Wednesday.

The opinion says that schools in the Detroit Public School Community District that have been in the bottom five percent for the last three school years can be closed.

That means if a school hasn’t performed sufficiently during the 2015-2016, 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 school years, it is subject to the rules. 

school desks
Public Domain Images | CC BY 2.0 / public-domain-image.com

Michigan's attorney general says the state may close persistently low-performing public schools in Detroit before the end of this academic year if they were among the lowest-achieving for the preceding three years.

Republican legislative leaders earlier this month asked Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette to weigh in because Republican Gov. Rick Snyder interpreted a law rescuing the Detroit district from debt to mean the State School Reform/Redesign Officer cannot close any district school until 2019.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Legislation on child restraint in classrooms passed through a House committee Thursday. 

The legislation would prevent teachers from restraining or isolating a student except as a last resort in an emergency situation.

This was the third hearing by the committee to go over the bills surrounding student restraint and seclusion. The committee passed the bills with substitutes to the original legislation.

Advocates of the bills say they will protect children and keep schools safe.

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 / Wikimedia.org

An early literacy bill is expected to clear the Michigan Legislature on Wednesday, requiring third-graders be held back if they lag in reading, though there are a number of exemptions to let kids still advance for "good cause."

Negotiators resolved differences Tuesday between House- and Senate-passed versions of the legislation, which would make Michigan the 17th state with such rules.

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The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to adopt voluntary guidelines to help schools with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students.

The policies are intended to help schools create a safe and supportive learning environment for LGBTQ individuals.

The guidance was voted on after more than three hours of public comment.

Approximately 60 people were given three minutes to share their thoughts on the issue. Commenters ranged from school principals and students to state legislators and medical professionals.

school lockers
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / pixabay.com

Michigan's education board is set to vote on guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBT students.

The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.

The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the guidance Wednesday, after receiving more than 13,000 public comments.

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An audit says the Michigan State Police division that inspects school buses is understaffed and has failed to ensure problems are fixed. 

The Michigan Office of the Auditor General looked at the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, which keeps tabs on the condition of thousands of buses.

The audit found initial inspections were done, but inspectors relied too heavily on the word of school districts that problems were fixed.

The audit found that 30 to 40 percent of repairs were certified by state employees between 2013 and 2015.

Sen. Arlan Meekhof
Michigan.gov / MISenateGOP.com

A top Republican lawmaker says he's considering "all options" to challenge Gov. Rick Snyder's determination that no low-performing Detroit public schools can be closed by the state for three years.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said Tuesday one option is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette for a legal opinion.

Snyder's office said last week he interprets the law creating a new, debt-free Detroit school district this summer to mean the State School Reform Office can't close any district school until 2019.