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Lawmakers Aim at Antiquated and Duplicative Reporting Requirements for Schools

State Capitol - file photo
Melissa Benmark

State lawmakers could rethink how much and what kind of information schools are required to report to the state. 

Schools must report financial, academic, and other information. But school groups often complain the number of mandated reports diverts too much time and too many resources away from classroom instruction.

“They have told us it’s causing significant time and expense and a lot of the reports are unnecessary or antiquated and no longer necessary and some of them are even duplicative,”

said state Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing).

“Everybody seems to agree that there’s just a ton of time that goes into reporting and that time could be used for educational purposes.”

Schor is sponsoring House Bill 4422, which would create a task force to look into whether some of the requirements should be nixed. The group would then submit recommendations to the governor, the Legislature, and the State Board of Education.

The task force would be made up of appointees from education groups - such as the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of School Administrators - teachers unions and charter school groups. The state superintendent of schools and legislative leaders would also be able to appoint non-voting members to the task force.

Lawmakers are also considering separate legislation that would add more mandated reporting on some schools’ finances. The so-called “early warning system” legislation is meant to stop more schools from falling into deficit and prevent situations where districts are no longer able to operate financially and must be dissolved.

The state dissolved the Buena Vista and Inkster school districts in 2013 when they ran out of money and were no longer able to operate. Many school groups have criticized that legislation, saying it might put onerous reporting requirements on many schools that do not risk going into deficit. Some also worry it would make it easier for the state to appoint an emergency manager if schools do not meet requirements imposed under the bills.

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