School reporting bureaucracy bill awaits house approval
BY BENJAMIN GOHS, EDITOR
A package of bills intended to reduce redundancy in school reporting requirements awaits approval in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Boyne City Public Schools Interim Superintendent Peter Moss recently praised the Michigan Senate for working to decrease some of the bureaucracy public schools face in their daily mission to educate students.
“There’s no question that we as superintendents and, I get the feeling that other officials have been saying similar things, that the bureaucracy in paperwork has been burying us,” said Moss. “And, every time you turn around, there is something new to be submitted.”
More aggravating that the seemingly endless regulations, Moss said, are the numerous instances where reporting ends up being duplicative.
“A lot of documents we have to file are redundant and there are so many of them you can start to lose track,” said Moss.
According to a press release from Michigan 37th District Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) Michigan school districts currently submit hundreds of reports to various governmental entities annually.
In order to help reduce the amount of paperwork that sometimes is obsolete by the time it is submitted, the Michigan Senate has proposed a package of bills, SBs 754-767.
“It is hard to believe that, in 2016, with all of the technology we have at our disposal, a simple process like completing and filing reports has become such a burdensome chore,” said Schmidt, sponsor of SB 763. “Our education professionals should be focusing their time and talents on student instruction, not filling out needless reports. This is good legislation that cuts out the unnecessary while ensuring the important information still gets reported, so our educators can do their jobs.”
According to Schmidt, education reporting requirements are found throughout Michigan law—not merely in the state education code. Further, there is no published comprehensive index in order to easily locate the mandated reports.
“The senate bill is absolutely a wonderful attempt—of course, the proof is going to be in the details,” said Moss. “Right now it looks like it just focuses on financial information but there are still a lot of other reports that still need to be filed that are duplicative that do not have anything to do with finances.”
He added, “This is a good first step and, hopefully, it will be an improvement and at least get the conversation started down in Lansing that we’re getting buried. I’m just happy our cries for help are being heard.”