Mackinac Center Files Friend of the Court Brief in MEA Lawsuit Involving Bay Mills Charter Schools

MEA’s appeal is “devoid of merit,” says Center legal scholar

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christopher F. Bachelder, Director of Communications
Phone: (989) 631-0900

MIDLAND — The Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy has filed a friend of the court brief in the Michigan Education Association’s lawsuit against state officials for financing Bay Mills Community College charter schools. Mackinac Center Senior Legal Analyst Patrick J. Wright, who filed the Center’s brief yesterday, observed this morning: "The MEA’s suit is devoid of merit. The union is basically presenting the same arguments that were filed against all charter schools in 1994 and rejected by the Michigan Supreme Court in 1997."

The MEA initiated the lawsuit in 2005 against the state superintendent, the state board of education, the state treasurer and the state treasury for allegedly violating the Michigan Constitution by allowing state funds to be disbursed to the charter schools authorized by Bay Mills Community College, which is operated by the Bay Mills Indian community. The college and its schools — now 32 in number — joined the case prior to the suit’s dismissal in Ingham County Circuit Court last December. The MEA has since appealed that dismissal.

Christopher F. Bachelder, the Mackinac Center’s director of communications, commented: "The MEA seems fundamentally unwilling to accept the fact that public education can be delivered through more dynamic approaches like charter schooling, which is more accountable to parents. The weakness of the MEA’s legal arguments is good news for the 10,000 Bay Mills schoolchildren, since it suggests the union will fail in its attempt to close these public schools."

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. The Center has also submitted friend of the court briefs in two other lawsuits currently under consideration: one involving what the Center contends is an illegal tax levied by the Michigan Public Service Commission, and the other involving federal wetlands regulation in two Michigan cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court.