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Sen. Shirkey and others introduce bills to improve school processes

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and other Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday to reduce red tape so schools can spend more time teaching.

Senate Bills 754-767 would eliminate unnecessary and redundant data collection and streamline school reporting requirements to give teachers and administrators more time to work on student-related matters.

“These bills not only bring greater clarity to the law, they free up school resources for important activities like teaching,” Shirkey said. “Educators throughout Michigan, including those in Branch, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties, all benefit when more time is available for their work.”

Michigan school districts must prepare and submit various reports to state and federal entities. Some of these reports can be time-consuming to produce and some are even obsolete by the submission date. These bills reduce the number of those types of reports.

Education reporting requirements are spread throughout Michigan law — not just the state’s education code. There is no published comprehensive index to easily locate all mandated reports. Although collected data can assist schools in some instances, it is important to remove outdated ones that no longer serve a useful function.

Local school officials support the legislation.

“School districts appreciate the fact that data collection can help inform instruction and lead to improved operational efficiencies,” said Superintendent Kevin Oxley, Jackson County Intermediate School District. “However, oftentimes required data collection can be duplicative, creating unnecessary work that wastes taxpayer dollars. Jackson County school districts appreciate the efforts these bills are making to make sure our data collection activities are worthwhile and efficient.”

Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, also expressed support for the package.

“Reducing red tape and duplicative reporting requirements for schools will mean educators can spend more time focusing on student achievement,” Pavlov said.

SBs 754-765 have been referred to the Senate Education Committee.