LANSING — State Representative Marilyn Lane (D- Fraser) voted today against legislation that would make it easier for the state to step in and take control of school districts.

“We should do all we can to help schools districts that are in financial distress, but taking away local control and putting the state in charge is not the answer,” said Lane. “Local school officials, teachers and parents should have a say in what happens to their schools. This legislation, however, gives greater authority to state officials instead of involving local residents in a more collaborative fashion.”

House Bills 4325-4330 create the early warning system, change the format of deficit elimination plans and revise the protocols for putting a school district under emergency management. The bills create burdensome reporting requirements and, rather than empowering local schools or intermediate school districts (ISDs), gives more authority to the appointed state treasurer and could make it easier for the state to impose an emergency financial manager.

House Democrats had offered a number of amendments during deliberation in the House Financial Liability Reform Committee. Those amendments would have given districts in financial distress extra tools to use that could have helped them solve their problems and avoid a state takeover. Republicans rejected all of the amendments, and the bills were voted out of the House today with strong Democratic opposition.

“This legislation doesn’t offer real solutions, it just gives the state a quicker way to go in and takeover of school district facing financial difficulties,” said Lane. “With all the cuts to school funding over the past several years, it’s no real surprise that many schools are struggling. We should fund our schools properly and work collaboratively with local education officials and parents to fix their schools instead of just charging in and taking control.”