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New Laws Affecting the 2018-2019 School Year

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, July 18, 2018

The Legislature has been busy over the last year and has passed some new laws that will affect schools. Of course, the most publicized piece has dealt with the Marshall Plan and career and technical education, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law last month. But other changes will be coming into effect as well. The following is a brief description of what’s new for the 2018-2019 school year.

Initiated Law 2—Repeal of Prevailing Wage

This law did not require signature by the Governor because it was brought forward through the ballot initiative process. It was passed by both the House and Senate on June 7 and filed with the Secretary of State on June 8 and immediately repealed Public Act 166 of 1965, the prevailing wage law. This law had required that a construction project undertaken by specific contracting agents, including the state and school districts, must pay wages and benefits that are not lower than the wage and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality where the work is being performed.

Public Act 137 of 2017—Concussion Training

This law went into effect in January and requires any individuals associated with youth sports be required to complete a concussion awareness training program at least once every three years. This affects school and recreation sports for athletes under the age of 18 (not including college programs that may have 17-year-old athletes).

Public Act 260 of 2017—Law Enforcement and Seclusion and Restraint in Schools

This law went into effect at the end of March and exempts certified law enforcement officers assigned to work in a school from the new seclusion and restraint laws that were passed in 2016. This allows the officers to abide by their training; however, any incidents must still be reported.

Public Act 11 of 2018—Dual Enrollment Opportunities

Students who attend school districts that border other states will be able to participate in dual enrollment programs at an out-of-state institution within 20 miles of the state border. The new law also states that the out-of-state institute could not charge more than its in-state tuition rate to an out-of-state dually enrolled student. This law went into effect in May, so it will apply to the upcoming school year.

Public Act 141 of 2018—Critical Shortage List

The sunset on the critical shortage list was extended to July 1, 2021, and the window for retirement for a person rehired as a substitute teacher was extended to the period between June 30, 2010 and Sept. 2, 2017.

Public Acts 145-146 of 2018—Student Criminal Sexual Conduct

Going into effect on Aug. 8, these two bills deal with students accused or convicted of sexually assaulting another student. The first allows a student to be suspended or expelled if the student commits CSC against a fellow pupil and requires expulsion if the student is convicted of, pleads to or is adjudicated for the assault. The second requires a school to honor a personal protection order if the petitioner is a minor and a victim of sexual assault, and not allow the victim and accused to attend school in the same building.

Public Act 181—MPSERS Pay-Off Methods

This law amends the method for districts to pay off unfunded MPSERS liability to a level-dollar method and reduces the assumed rate of payroll growth from 3.5% to 0% in 0.5% increments beginning in fiscal year 2018-2019. The contribution rate will be applied to payroll adjusted by the growth rate of payroll plus purchased services, instead of the current requirement that the rate be applied to payroll plus the growth in current operating expenditures.

Public Acts 184-185—High School Internships for Credit

Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, a district would have to grant high school credit to a pupil in grades 9-12 for the completion of an internship or work experience under certain circumstances. It also allows the school to continue to count that pupil in the official count for the per-pupil allowance.

Public Act 232—Michigan Merit Curriculum Flexibility

This law extends the sunset on Michigan Merit Curriculum language that allows students to replace one credit of world language with an additional credit of arts or with completion of a formal CTE program. Currently, that flexibility expires with the class of 2022. This bill extends it for the graduating classes through 2024. It also adds a new reporting requirement that mandates districts report how many students utilize this flexibility starting on Sept. 1, 2018 and each year after.

Public Act 236—Substitute Teacher Qualifications

Taking effect on Sept. 25, 2018, this bill allows substitute teachers to teach with 60 semester hours of college credit or an associate degree, instead of the current 90 hours required.

Public Act 241—STEM Diploma Endorsements

This law takes effect Sept. 26, 2018. It outlines requirements for a STEM endorsement on a diploma, which includes six credits in math (including one credit in precalculus or calculus), six credits in science, a half credit in technology and a half credit in engineering. However, districts are not required to adopt the endorsement.

Public Act 242—Career Outlook Pamphlets

Taking effect on Sept. 26, 2018, the new law requires distribution of career outlook information to all students. The Department of Technology, Management and Budget must send a list of all in-demand occupations to all schools by Sept. 1 of each school year.

Public Act 243—Sunscreen in Schools

This law allows students to use an FDA-approved, over-the-counter topical substance, including sunscreen, at school with written approval to possess and use it from his or her parent or legal guardian. It adds sunscreen and topical substances in the same section of law as epi-pens and inhalers.

Public Act 270—Pesticide Application Notification Registry

Beginning Sept. 27, 2018, the Michigan Department of Agriculture will create a voluntary registry of certain individuals who would be required to be notified before the application of certain pesticides on property adjacent to their own. It will be up to the property applying the pesticides, including school districts, to notify affected residents through means provided in the registry. It does not apply to general use, ready-to-use pesticides.

Public Act 273—School Bus Weights and Widths

School buses will be added to the list of exempted vehicles for seasonal weight limits on roads beginning Sept. 27. This law also extends the maximum legal width of a school bus to 102 inches, excluding an appurtenance.

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