Despite bipartisan support, legislation stalled on school employee pay and forgiveness for closure days
MICHIGAN — No action occurred today on a bipartisan solution to keep school employees paid and forgive school districts for the days of education missed due to the ongoing school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Michigan Education Association, AFT Michigan, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators and Michigan Association of School Boards issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s adjournment without action on the issue:
“Over the past few days, our organizations — from both the labor and management sides of the education community — have worked together to find a legislative solution to ensure all school employees continue to be paid during this crisis. We agreed on an approach that would bring some certainty around pay and days/hours requirements to school districts and employees alike. These issues are interlinked and must be tackled together to address the needs of employees and districts, knowing that we will need to address the long-term needs of students when we know how long this crisis will last.
“We had significant, bipartisan support for our approach developed over days of conversations with lawmakers — something we greatly appreciate. We believe the majority of legislators want to deliver whatever level of certainty they can to students, parents, school employees and district leaders.
“Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey adjourned his chamber without taking action today. Leaving a bipartisan solution to an immediate problem on the table during a time of crisis is not in anyone’s best interests. We call on Sen. Shirkey to reconvene the Senate and address these issues for school employees and districts. They deserve nothing less, given the immense efforts overtaken since last Friday to continue engaging students in learning where possible and to ensure meals and other critical supports continue to flow to our students with the greatest need.”