Taxpayer Money Appropriated for Private Schools
For nearly fifty years, Michigan’s Constitution has strictly prohibited taxpayer funding of private and religious schools. However, in 2016 the legislature appropriated $2.5 million to “reimburse” private and parochial schools for complying with mandates that all schools in Michigan must abide by. The ACLU of Michigan opposed the legislation, and although Governor Snyder recognized that it was constitutionally suspect, he refused to exercise his veto power. Instead, he signed the appropriation into law and simultaneously asked the Michigan Supreme Court to issue an “advisory opinion” on whether it was constitutional. In August 2016 we filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the appropriation should be struck down because it violates the state constitutional requirement that reserves public education funding exclusively for public schools.
(In re Request for Advisory Opinion Regarding Constitutionality of 2016 PA 249; ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin; Cooperating Attorney Peter Hammer of Wayne State Law School; David Sciarra and Molly Hunter of the Education Law Center.)