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

“Yesterday, the majority of representatives put special interests over children by giving profit-driven charter schools the right to benefit from regional enhancement property taxes levied at the intermediate school district level.

“When education management organizations that run charter schools aren't held to the same transparency and reporting standards that our public schools are, the taxpayers lose. With our public schools, elections and public meetings give parents and communities oversight and leverage on how your taxes are being spent — they know how decisions are made and what the money is used for. With for-profit charter schools, you don't.

"This bill passed the day after a new education report has come out revealing our schools are more dramatically underfunded than previously thought — almost $2,000 per pupil. We need to get to work solving the real problems facing our students, educators and schools and stop these harmful giveaways of your tax dollars.

“I was proud to stand up to the corporations behind this legislation and vote to support our students — because students and communities lose when corporations skim off the top of their state and local funding."