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Charter school millage bill would fund cyber schools

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U of M's two-year study will look at charters schools across the state.

A new bill in the Michigan House of Representatives would allow charter schools to take a cut of regional public school millages, including online charter schools, or cyber schools. Senate Bill 574 would require intermediate school districts that pass enhancement millages to share those revenues with charter schools. The bill was passed by the House Education Reform Committee last week. 

The legislation would only allow the cyber schools to receive money from regional enhancement millages passed for intermediate school districts if they're headquartered in the same county as the ISD, and only for students who live in the county. Additionally, the cyber school must enroll at least 80% of its students from within the ISD to qualify for funding.

Critics say cyber schools don't need those funds because they don't maintain brick-and-mortar school buildings, and don't transport students by bus. Supporters say the legislation would level the playing field for charters and traditional public schools.

State Rep. Darrin Camillieri, D-Brownstown Twp., voted against the bill.

"Almost all of the cyber schools are for-profit. Where is that money going?" he said. "In my mind it's going into the pockets of folks who own these companies, and not actually benefiting students."

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