LANSING, Mich. —
A proposal to grant wider powers to emergency managers assigned to fiscally troubled
cities and school districts has drawn fire from the state’s largest teachers
union, which stopped just short of telling a television news station that the
governor is attempting to drive schools bankrupt as a way to eliminate
collective bargaining privileges.
House Bill 4214
would allow emergency financial managers, appointed by the state, to modify or terminate
union-negotiated contracts between school districts and their employees as a
way to resolve worst-case budget deficits, television station WWMT reported. They
also could close schools or put a property tax millage request before voters.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
reported that “some wonder” about the timing of the bill, given Gov. Rick
Snyder’s proposal to reduce per-pupil funding to schools by $470 per student.
“I would hesitate
to say that Governor Snyder would be part of some coordinated plan to cause
fiscal emergencies,” MEA spokesman Doug Pratt told WWMT, “but have some people
connected the dots, I'm sure they have.”
"I don’t want to
have a financial manager situation,” Snyder said, according to WWMT. The governor
said that most school districts could avoid such a possibility by revising
employee benefits to bring down expenses.
would let emergency financial managers take over public entities,” Feb. 24,
Votes.org, “House Bill 4214 (Increase
power of school and local emergency financial managers),” Feb. 9, 2011