The Michigan Supreme Court has granted review of an appellate court decision upholding a state law that directly violates the Michigan Constitution’s prohibition on public funding of private schools. Public Funds Public Schools (PFPS), an initiative of Education Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center, submitted an amicus curiae brief urging grant of the plaintiffs’ application for leave to appeal and has now been invited by the Supreme Court to file an additional amicus brief.
The statute challenged in the case, Council of Organizations & Others for Education about Parochiaid v. State, would divert millions in taxpayer funds from Michigan’s public education budget to reimburse nonpublic schools for so-called health, safety, and welfare expenses. Michigan’s Court of Claims had ruled that the law violated the “no-aid clause” in the state constitution, which expressly forbids any payment of public funds to nonpublic schools, but the Court of Appeals reversed that decision.
PFPS’s amicus brief supporting the application for review provided crucial information about Michigan voters’ approval of the constitution’s no-aid clause in response to a strained public education budget and the continuing, severe underfunding of Michigan’s public schools. PFPS is a national campaign to ensure that public funds for education are exclusively used to maintain and support public schools, and PFPS works to oppose all forms of private school vouchers as well as other diversions of public funds from public education.
In its order granting leave to appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court specifically invited PFPS to file another amicus brief as it considers the merits of the case.
The case will be argued during the Supreme Court term beginning in fall 2019.
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