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State Takeovers of School Districts and Related Litigation: Michigan as a Case Study

August 2013

Kristi Bowman


The article summarizes emergency manager laws as they pertained to the Michigan Public Schools system over the last 30 years. The article focuses primarily on comparing public act 72 and public act 4 and summarizes major complaints against the later. The article then points out that under public act 4 emergency managers are allowed to take over both fiscal and academic management when a school is in fiscal trouble. It finds this represents a problem as emergency managers are not necessarily well versed in academic policy.

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Policy Implications

The article can be useful to help guide policy makers in defining the roles emergency managers play in failing school systems. It recommends trying to define what constitutes a financial decision, and what constitutes an academic one. It also mentions that the expertise of local educators and board members should not be overlooked by emergency managers in attempting to fix a failing system.

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