LANSING — The House passed Senate Bill 574 today, which will allow charter schools to siphon off regional school millage dollars approved by voters. In response, state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:

“It’s time to declare war on the Betsy DeVos agenda! The passage of SB 574 is wrong. Raising funds through a millage to improve school operations, with the goal of reducing class size, recruiting and hiring teachers, and improving technology, only to repurpose those dollars for profits for education management organizations demonstrates why our state is lagging 35th in the nation in college preparedness. It is high time Michigan gets its act together to advance policy that will benefit all Michigan children, not selfish profit interest.

“According to the Nov. 17, 2017 Michigan Special Education Funding Subcommittee report by the Lt. Governor’s Special Education Reform Task Force, Michigan children with disabilities are lagging behind those of others states. In fact, the federal government has shortchanged us, never living up to their goal of paying 40 percent of special education costs, creating shortfalls in perpetuity.

“SB 574 further widens that shortfall, with this for-profit cash diversion, from traditional public schools, which enrolls the lion’s share of students with special needs. I challenge the members of Congress, Betsy DeVos and Lansing Republicans to put children first! Today I put forth a bipartisan resolution calling on the federal government to give Michigan its fair share of special education funding and I plan to personally deliver it to Washington.”