No bids on food purchases up to $100,000

Public school districts could buy up to $100,000 of food in a single transaction without competitive bidding under bills introduced by Rep. Lee Gonzales, D-Flint Township. Current law requires schools to seek bids on any purchase greater than $17,932. The bill would apply to conventional public schools, public charter schools and intermediate districts.

House Bills 6365 and 6366 would put Michigan in line with federal regulations, which authorize food purchases of up to $100,000 for school lunch programs without requiring bids, unless the state threshold is lower. The bill was reported out of the House Agriculture Committee and sent to the House of Representatives on Sept. 10.

Non-food purchases of more than $19,650 would still be subject to competitive bidding regulations, with that threshold adjusted annually for inflation.

Track this bill online at:


Career students could charge customers

Students trainees who provide services to the public at private business or trade schools could charge customers a nominal fee under House Bill 5995, introduced by Rep. Paul Condino, D-Southfield. The bill would allow students to charge for such things as massage or pet grooming, as long as the money was used to support the school and not for individual profit.

The bill affects so-called proprietary schools, which would be reclassified as "career schools." These schools operate under licensing from the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth. School operators say that allowing students to work with the public, under faculty supervision, is a critical part of training, and that charging fees for those services is a way to hold down tuition costs and help finance operations, according to a House Legislative Analysis of the bill.

The bill passed in the House on a 105-0 vote on Sept. 9 and was referred to the Senate Economic Development and Regulatory Reform Committee.

 Track this item online at:


Advance tuition tax deductible

Charitable contributions to the Michigan advance tuition payment fund would be deductible for state income tax purposes under House Bill 6363, introduced by Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville, in June.

The bill passed in the House on a 109-0 vote Sept. 11. It would make charitable contributions to the Michigan advance tuition payment fund deductible. The fund was created by the Michigan Education Trust Act. Payments made to an advance tuition contract or to a private investment manager operating a state-approved advance tuition payment program also are tax-deductible.

Track this item online at


MME changes

Students who want to re-take the Michigan Merit Exam would have to pay for it themselves under House Bill 6412, introduced by Rep. Matthew Gillard on Sept. 9. Certain exceptions would be allowed, including cases in which low-income students want to take the test a second time in an effort to  qualify for a Michigan Promise Grant . Students who did not take the test their junior year would be required to take it during their senior year.

 The bill also would require that the test include one -- and only one - writing component in which the student produces an extended writing sample.

The proposal was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Track this item online at