Bill would require schools to hold policies, not MESSA

LANSING, Mich. — Public school districts would have to be the official policyholder of any group insurance offered to their employees under legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives, according to Michigan Votes. In other legislative news, a bill proposed in the Senate would excuse public school districts from conducting "rigorous, transparent and fair" teacher evaluations if a labor union contract prohibits them.

Michigan Votes is a legislative tracking service sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which also publishes Michigan Education Digest.

House Bill 6463, introduced by Rep. Larry DeShazor, R-Portage, proposes that any public school district that provides insurance benefits to employees would have to be the official policyholder of those plans.

A majority of Michigan public school districts currently allow the Michigan Education Special Services Association to be the policyholder. MESSA is a third-party insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee on Sept. 21.

Senate Bill 1509 would excuse schools from new teacher evaluation methods required by Public Act 205 if an existing labor union contract prohibits them, although the new system would take effect after that contract expires, according to Michigan Votes. Michigan changed teacher evaluation requirements as part of a bid to win "Race to the Top" federal education grant dollars, the report said.

Michigan Votes, "2010 House Bill 6463 (Dismantle MEA's school insurance sale device)," Sept. 21, 2010

Michigan Votes, "2010 Senate Bill 1509 (Suspend teacher evaluation if union contract does not allow it)," Sept. 23, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan School District Health Insurance" (database)