Pavlov bill to strengthen local finances and protect taxpayers passes out of Senate Education Committee

LANSING—The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday passed Sen. Phil Pavlov’s legislation requiring fiscal accountability and transparency on the part of local governments and school districts to protect taxpayers from long-term debt and possible bankruptcy.

Senate Bill 153, which creates the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, would streamline the current process for appointing an emergency manager and empower that manager with the decision-making authority to set a community or school district in severe deficit on a swift path to financial recovery.

“In extreme situations, preventative steps must be taken to safeguard public interests and the public’s money,” said Pavlov, chair of the committee. “This reform will make the installation of an emergency manager a rare occurrence, but one that will ensure that vital services such as public safety and education are maintained and taxpayers are protected.”

Under Pavlov’s legislation, emergency managers would be authorized to negotiate contracts, undo burdensome costs, direct academics, rectify corruption on the part of local officials and recommend consolidation of local units.

As a safeguard, the bill would require a seven-step review and appeals process before the governor could declare a financial emergency, as well as various levels of oversight.

“Early intervention in these emergency situations can ensure a much better outcome,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “By empowering the state to be responsive to local needs, this measure will help prevent fiscal catastrophes and actually strengthen local control and accountability.”

SB 153 now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

Sen. Pavlov sponsors bills to protect municipalities and school districts in emergency situations

 

LANSING—State Sen. Phil Pavlov introduced legislation Wednesday that would help protect local taxpayers from long-term debt while helping ensure that vital services such as public safety and education are maintained.

Senate Bills 153 – 158, known as the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, would streamline the current process for installing emergency managers in municipalities and school districts in severe deficit.

“The state must be responsive to the needs of its residents by helping communities and school districts avoid long-term liabilities and even bankruptcy,” said Pavlov, chair of the Senate Committee on Education. “These measures make it possible for the state to intervene earlier and more efficiently in cases of extreme distress.”

Under Pavlov’s legislation, emergency managers could negotiate contracts, direct academics, address corruption on the part of local officials and recommend consolidation of local units.

As a safeguard, the bills require a seven-step review and appeals process before the governor could declare a financial emergency, as well as various levels of oversight. If an emergency does exist, the state treasurer would place the local government into receivership and appoint an emergency manager.

In addition, the state treasurer or superintendent could give some of the powers granted to an emergency manager to a locally appointed or elected official before a local unit goes into receivership.

“Michigan is facing a potential scenario of multiple municipalities and school districts in severe financial duress. By acting now, we can provide appropriate tools to correct these situations and protect the public trust,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township.

The Senate Committee on Education heard testimony on Pavlov’s legislation on Wednesday. 

Sen. Pavlov sponsors bill to empower school districts

LANSING—Legislation to empower local districts, foster innovation and relieve burdensome regulations was introduced in the Michigan Senate Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Phil Pavlov.

Senate Bill 131, sponsored by Pavlov, and SB 132, sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen, would allow local school districts to enter into an “Education Mandate Rollback Contract” with the Michigan superintendent of public instruction.

“Michigan schools should have some flexibility to employ creative methods of delivering superior education to our students,” said Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “This ‘Ed Flex’ legislation will empower schools across the state to make decisions that best fit their students’ needs.”

The contracts would allow the state superintendent to waive many onerous state and federal education requirements, except those pertaining to health and safety, teacher certification and competitive bidding. The superintendent also would not be able to waive rules that undermine the underlying purpose of a program.

Contracts would apply to an entire school district or to specific schools and would normally not exceed five years, although contracts could be renewed if the state superintendent determined specific performance goals were met.

“I encourage my colleagues to support these vital measures,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Our schools shouldn’t be restrained by unnecessary regulations. They should have the ability to focus on the fundamental and critical task of educating our children.”

SBs 131 and 132 were referred to the Senate Education Committee for further consideration.