Legislative Alert

Back to school for administrators?

A voluntary certification program for school administrators would become mandatory under legislation introduced by Rep. Dudley Spade, D-Tipton, on June 10.

House Bill 6234 would prohibit conventional public school districts and public school academies from employing a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, administrator or chief business official unless the person has the school administrator certification that was created as a voluntary program by Public Act 335 of 2006.

Current administrators who are not certified would have to enroll within six months of the bill’s passage and complete the program within the next five years.

According to information at the Michigan Department of Education Web site, the voluntary certification requires completion of an approved master’s degree or higher in educational leadership or administration.

The bill was referred to the House Education Committee.

Track this bill online at: www.michiganvotes.org/2008-HB-6234

Extend time limit on ‘retired’ employees

Teachers or administrators who return to work in a school district after retiring would be allowed to collect a salary for up to eight years and simultaneously collect their full pension benefits under a bill originally introduced by Rep. Tim Melton, D-Pontiac/Auburn Hills in 2007.

Current law allows retired school employees to return to work in certain school districts or in certain positions — without a pension reduction — if there is deemed to be a "critical shortage" in that discipline. The bill would extend the time limit on such employment from six years to eight.

According to a House Legislative Analysis of the proposal, the hiring district would have to prove that it tried unsuccessfully to fill the job on its own. Districts could only hire employees who had been retired at least 12 months. After three years, the hiring district would begin picking up the cost of that employee’s health insurance.

The Michigan Department of Education identified 41 "critical shortage" areas in 2007-2008, ranging from superintendents and principals to varied special education disciplines to teachers of Arabic.

House Bill 4593 passed in the House of Representatives on a 105-1 vote on June 12.

Track this bill online at: www.michiganvotes.org/2008-HB-4593

Extra training on reading disabilities

Principals, teachers and administrators would have to acquire additional training in reading disabilities and instruction under a bill passed by the state Senate in June.

Originally introduced by Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, in 2007, the initial version would have required a student to demonstrate basic literacy skills before being promoted to fourth grade. Students would have been tested after second and third grades.

But the substitute bill that was adopted instead requires school staff to take training on identifying reading problems and selecting appropriate interventions. In addition, the Michigan Department of Education would have to develop a model summer remedial reading program for first- through fourth-graders and a model early intervention program for struggling readers.

The substitute, Senate Bill 842, passed the Senate by voice vote on June 10 and was sent to the House of Representatives, which referred it to the House Education Committee.

Track this bill online at: www.michiganvotes.org/2008-SB-842