No charter relocation
A charter public school could not relocate to another site unless it applies for and is granted a new contract to operate by its chartering authority under House Bill 5580, introduced by Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, on Dec. 13, 2007. Schools could not move by amending their existing contracts. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee. Conner Creek Academy East, a public school academy based in Roseville, recently won approval from the state to build an $11 million school for its middle and high school programs in Warren, though Warren city officials have fought the move. The academy’s authorizing agency is Ferris State University.
MESP accounts can pay for service academies
Michigan Education Savings Plan account funds can be used to attend a U.S. service academy under legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Dec. 20, 2007. Originally introduced by Rep. Tim Melton, D-Pontiac, on Aug. 23, the new law broadens the investment options in the tax-deferred college savings account program. It also explicitly allows using the funds to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, West Point or Naval Academy. The legislation passed the Senate and House of Representatives in unanimous votes in December.
‘Promise zones’ for college tuition
Low-income communities could create "promise zones" and capture tax revenue to pay for college tuition on behalf of local students under House Bill 5375, introduced by Rep. Tim Melton, D-Pontiac, on Oct. 25, 2007. The Michigan Promise Zone Act would return to eligible communities part of future increases in revenue generated by the six-mill state education tax. That money could be used for college tuition assistance programs or educational activities aimed at college readiness. The program would be administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. It passed in the House of Representatives on a 71-34 vote in December.
Paid leave for adoption
Employers would be required to grant paid leave to employees who adopt a child age five or younger under House Bill 5261, introduced by Rep. Matthew Gillard, D-Alpena, on Sept. 24, 2007. Under current law the mandate applies for the birth of an employee’s child. The House of Representatives approved the legislation in a 101-7 vote on Dec. 13.
No personal use of school vehicles
Employees would not be allowed to use a vehicle owned or leased by a school district or local government for personal business under House Bill 5506, introduced by Rep. Brian Palmer, R-Romeo, on Dec. 1, 2007. The act would include all local units of government, school districts and intermediate school districts. It includes school superintendents and other administrators. Violators would be subject to a reduction in state revenue sharing or state school aid. The bill was referred to the House Intergovernmental, Urban and Regional Affairs Committee.
Excused absences for children of service members
Children of service members would automatically be excused from school on the days their parents are being deployed or returning from active duty under Senate Bill 747, introduced by Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, on Sept. 6, 2007. Public schools would be required to give the child an excused absence for up to one full day. Longer absences could be excused at the school’s discretion. The bill passed the Senate in a 37-0 vote on Oct. 11 and was referred to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. That committee recommended passage to the full House of Representatives on Dec. 5.
Repeal new act requiring health insurance bids
The month after it was signed into law, legislation to repeal part of Michigan’s new Public Employees Health Benefit Act was introduced by Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids. House Bill 5454 would repeal the part of the act that requires public employers, including school districts, to get four competitive bids when purchasing employee health insurance. The Act was passed as part of the 2007-2008 budget and tax increase deal. It also requires third-party insurance administrators to release claims history data and allows government and school districts to form insurance purchasing pools. House Bill 5454 was referred to the House Education Committee on Nov. 8, 2007.