School Choice & Charters

Mich. Governor Requests Court to Weigh in on Legality of Private School Funding

By Arianna Prothero — July 15, 2016 1 min read
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By Daarel Burnette II. This story originally appeared on the State EdWatch blog.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, has asked the state’s supreme court to determine whether his recently adopted budget, which sets aside money for private schools, is constitutional.

The budget will send $2.5 million to private schools this year for costs associated with state-mandated requirements such as background checks on employees, immunizations, and compliance with state building, health, and fire codes, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Several public school advocates have argued that spending taxpayer money on private schools violates a clause in the state’s constitution that specifically bans public resources for private schools.

Supporters of the budget item, including state catholic and charter associations, argue that the money will only be spent on state-mandated requirements and won’t be spent on curriculum or teacher salaries.

Amid lawsuit threats from the state’s ACLU chapter, Gov. Snyder wrote a letter to the court asking them to issue an opinion on the budget in the coming months. The state’s legal chief, Attorney General Bill Schuette was “unable to definitely answer” whether the budget item is constitutional.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.