Memo 1048, ( January 1998 ) 7 pages
The Durant Decision
On July 31, 1997, the Michigan Supreme Court held that special education programs are a State mandate and that the State had failed to fund such programs at the level required by the State Constitution. A financial settlement has been structured covering both the plaintiffs and other school districts similarly affected by the State’s actions. Correcting the underfunding of special education programs is not the only Headlee Amendment issue which should concern the Governor and Legislature. An effort should be undertaken to identify and catalogue existing mandates imposed upon units of local government by the State, and to identify new mandates as they are adopted. In addition, the Legislature should invigorate the local government claims review board which it established in 1979. Finally, the Legislature needs to adopt amendments to its joint rules to establish a process to identify potential mandates, as required by the Headlee Amendment implementation legislation.