Technical education programs

House Bills 6370 through 6384 would transfer oversight of several technical and career education programs to the Department of Education. All 15 passed 54-44 in the House on Sept. 7 and are before the Senate Education Committee. The bills cover things such as administration of work study programs, education grants, post secondary career education programs, K-12 vocational programs, adult education and community college governance of technical training. Most of the programs had been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Community Development.

Move up kindergarten start

A pair of bills has been introduced in the Michigan House that would move up the cutoff date for students starting kindergarten by three months. Currently, a student must turn 5 years old by December 1 of the school year in which they enter kindergarten, but the new bills would move that up to September 1. House Bill 6446 would move that date up gradually, one month at a time, over three years. House Bill 6448 allows school districts to then collect per-pupil funding for students who enroll in kindergarten. The bills were assigned to the House Education Committee.

Remedial education information

Senate Concurrent Resolution 55 asks Michigan’s public colleges and universities to make available to each Michigan high school how many graduates of that high school are taking remedial math or English classes. It has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee.

Food allergies

Senate Bill 1397 calls on school districts to adopt policies to limit the exposure of students with severe food allergies, as well as ensure timely response should such an exposure occur. The bill is before the Senate Education Committee.

PPOs for schools

House Bill 6403 would allow school districts to seek Personal Protection Orders against people who have been accused, but not convicted, of sexual misconduct with a student. Such a PPO would prohibit the person from coming on or near school property, bus stops, or the route the particular student takes to school. House Bill 6406, meanwhile, would give police the right to arrest a person found in violation of such a Personal Protection Order, without having to obtain a warrant first. The House Judiciary Committee is considering the bills.

Prop A overhaul

House Bill 6419 would give the ability to "hold harmless" school districts – those where the per-pupil funding was more than $6,500 when Proposal A was passed in 1994 – to levy additional taxes that increase the foundation level to the rate of inflation. Such tax levies are currently illegal under Prop A. The bill is before the House Appropriations Committee.

New vaccine mandated

A pair of bills would require girls in Michigan entering sixth grade to receive an immunization against human papillomavirus, which researchers say has a connection to cervical cancer. Senate Bills 1416 and 1417 would apply to students in both public and independent schools. Parents could sign a waiver stating they had read information about the vaccine and elected not to allow their child to receive it. The bills passed 36-1 in the Senate and were referred to the House Health Policy Committee.

School bus stops

House Bills 6450 and 6451 would make changes to the law that details school bus stop procedures. HB 6450 would require school buses drivers to activate flashing red lights 400 feet before stopping to pick up or drop off students, instead of the current requirement of 200 feet. HB 6451 would require drivers to stop immediately upon seeing a school bus’s flashing red lights activate, rather than the current requirement of stopping 20 feet away from the bus. The bill also removes a requirement that the lights be red. Both bills were assigned to the House Transportation Committee.

Graduation rates

Senate Bill 1413 would require intermediate school districts to audit graduation and drop out rates reported by school districts. The bill is assigned to the Senate Education Committee.

Back-to-school tax holiday

House Bill 6531 would make back-to-school items exempt from Michigan’s 6 percent sales tax. The "sales tax holiday" would run from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15 each year, and apply to items such as school supplies, clothing and shoes, with a $100 cap per each item. The bill was referred to the House Tax Policy Committee.

Interest-free college loans

Students who graduate from a Michigan public college or university with a bachelor’s degree in one of several specified technology programs would receive a grant to pay the interest portion of outstanding student loans, if House Bill 6538 were to pass. The bill, which establishes a fund for the program but does not address where the money would come from, is before the House Higher Education Committee.