Michigan Senate calls rare Saturday session to debate forcing school districts to offer in-person option

Districts could risk losing funding if they don't offer in-person option

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Senate is calling a special Saturday session to tackle the debate centered around forcing school districts to offer an in-person option.

Among the topics of debate is whether schools would risk losing their funding if they don’t offer an in-person option, but that’s not a done deal.

As it stands now, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is letting schools make their own decisions on reopening this fall. Some districts, such as the Detroit Public Schools Community District, are offering in-person summer school.

Other districts, such as Ann Arbor, have decided to keep everything remote at the start of the school year.

The Michigan Senate is set to debate a number of school-related issues Saturday, including the in-person mandate.

Another issue is how to count school attendance when nobody is there in-person, since attendance is the mechanism that drives how schools are funded.

Time is of the essence, so expect a package of bills related to the start of the school year to be sent to the governor after Saturday’s session.

Right now, fall education plans are up to the districts, but that could change this weekend. The bigger issue is if coronavirus (COVID-19) cases rise and the state goes into lockdown again, which would force all districts to resort to remote learning.

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