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Shirkey measure and other bills to cut red tape in schools headed to governor

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday gave final approval to bills authored by Sen. Mike Shirkey and other Senate Republicans that would reduce red tape so schools can spend more time teaching.

Senate Bills 754-757 and 759-767 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 will provide more time for teachers to engage in actual teaching and will reduce the time school administrators spend on red tape and duplicative reporting requirements,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Educators throughout Michigan, including those in Branch, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties, all benefit when more time is available for their important 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.

“While school districts understand and appreciate the importance of data collection designed to better inform instruction, we appreciate the efforts of the Legislature through these bills to reduce the current redundant reporting requirements that we currently face,” said Michigan Center Schools Superintendent Scott Koziol. “This reduction of redundancy will help us to operate more efficiently with the resources we are provided.”

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 Although collected data can assist schools in some instances, it is important to remove outdated ones that no longer serve a useful function.

“For the past several years, school districts have been mandated to submit an increased number of reports to various agencies,” said Hanover-Horton School District Superintendent John Denney. “Many of those reports contained very similar information. I am thankful that some of the redundant reporting has been eliminated. Less time spent filling out and submitting reports is more time spent focusing on teaching and learning.”

Senate Bills 754-757 and 759-767 were approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives and await the governor’s signature.