LANSING – State Representative David Rutledge (Ypsilanti) today announced his appointment to the bipartisan, bicameral Workgroup on School Quality that was established by the charter expansion legislation recently enacted. Rutledge is one of two Democratic legislators on the eight-member panel.

“I had some major concerns about the charter expansion bill that came before the House this fall,” Rutledge said. “I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of a larger solution to our state’s public education system; it’s my hope that this workgroup will move Michigan toward a more equal playing field for both charters and our community-governed schools.”

The new Workgroup on School Quality was required by Public Act 277 of 2011, which Governor Snyder signed into law earlier this week. The workgroup must make recommendations to the Senate and House education committees on “measures to be taken to improve educational quality in all public schools for all pupils.” Members were appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader.

Rep. Rutledge proposed a number of amendments to the legislation (Senate Bill 618) when it came before the House Education Committee, and on the House floor. Among his amendments were changes that would have prohibited for-profit companies from running charter schools using public dollars, and limiting charters from opening in high-performing districts. Rutledge voted against SB 618.

“When Speaker Bolger asked me to consider serving on the workgroup, I was eager to accept,” Rutledge said. “There is nothing more vital to Michigan’s long-term success than public education, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect our state’s precious school system.”

Other appointees to the workgroup are: Representatives Bill Rogers (R-Brighton), Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), and Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia), and Senators Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale), Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), and Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), who will serve as chair. The workgroup will convene in Jan., and must report its recommendations by March 30, 2012.