Sunday, April 15, 2018

In Michigan, Battle Over Appropriations For State Mandates On Private Schools, Continues

Detroit News yesterday reported on developments in Michigan in the battle over legislative appropriations to fund state mandates imposed on private and religious schools-- requirements such as fire drills and criminal background checks.  Last year, the state Court of Claims issued a preliminary injunction barring payment of the $2.5 million that the legislature had appropriated.  The Court's decision was based on Michigan's Blaine Amendment (inserted in the state constitution in 1970) that bars public funds for "any private, denominational or other nonpublic, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school". (See prior posting.)  On March 12, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic school in Grand Rapids, along with parents and state legislators, filed a counter-suit in the Court of Claims contending that the Blaine Amendment violates the free exercise, free speech and equal protection clauses of the federal constitution.  According to the Detroit News:
The Grand Rapids school’s lawsuit argues the state’s so-called Blaine Amendment was developed in a furor of “anti-Catholic sentiment” and should be disregarded in the debate over the $2.5 million state allocation for non-public schools.
The enjoined funding has been included by the legislature, over the opposition of Gov. Rick Snyder, in the proposed 2019 budget.