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School districts concerned about package of bills with new rules


School district leaders in Michigan say a package of online education bills making its way through the legislature sets requirements that are too rigid.

The bills are in anticipation of many students going to school online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.   

One of the bills requires districts to document a 75% average attendance record; otherwise some state funding will be cut. 

That could be very difficult to do, when students are not physically in the classroom.

Rebecca Jacobsen is a professor at Michigan State University's School of Education.  

"How does the district say, 'we're doing the best we can in order to keep their funding?" asked Jacobson.

Meanwhile the bills do not offer what the State Schools Superintendent says is needed:  basing funding on last year's student enrollment count.  They say this year's count could be hard to determine, or end up crippling a district's finances, if large numbers of students do not reliably show up for online coursework.

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