Public Education Finance Act

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McLellan: School Report Not Done Yet


“It will be done when it is done.”

Lansing barrister Richard McLELLAN is continuing to labor over the 400-plus-page document that lays out a school funding distribution system based on performance measurements, a plan that has drawn immediate fire from various segments of the education community.

The plan was tentatively scheduled to be released the week before Christmas, but the rollout was pushed back until January as McLellan cleans up typos that were in the first draft. He said 99.9 percent of the content of the report is complete.

McLellan notes with interest what he terms the “disinformation campaign” now apparently underway by the state school superintendents.

“They have not seen the report,” he said.

Appointed by Gov. Rick SNYDER to develop this new K-12 funding formula, McLellan said he was not surprised when Snyder changed direction on when to include this new system in the budget process.

Originally, the goal was to have it ready for use in the administration’s budget proposal due out in early February. But Snyder decided weeks ago that would not be the case and McLellan said that’s OK since he was going to make the same recommendation to the Governor.

“This is very challenging. You can’t do performance funding until you have performance measurements,” in place he observes and that could take until 2015.

Asked if the delay would give the superintendents two more years to pick away at the document, he offered, “It give us two more years to get it right.”

State Board of Education President John Austin is pleased that the Governor will not include all this in the budget presentation. In fact, he told MIRS he is relieved the Governor is not taking the “radical approach” as suggested in the draft document authored by McLellan.

Austin said he is hoping this represents a “step back” for the Governor from this “hot potato,” which would have “blown apart education” in the state.

McLellan described Austin as a “smart guy,” but he wonders why the SBE does not draft some legislation of its own. “Policy is not issuing a press release,” he said.

Austin said the board did have input with the Governor on this issue last year. There is no timeline for completing his report, according to McLellan.