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Schools of choice proposal stirs debate

Mercedes Mejia
Michigan Radio

Opposition is mounting to a proposed requirement that all school districts in Michigan accept students from outside their borders. It’s part of Governor Snyder’s education reform plan. Legislation could be introduced as early as today.

Lynn Jacobs co-founded the group Michigan Communities for Local Controlto fight the proposal:

"We believe that the mandating of this is about taking away the ability of individual districts to decide how to use it. We’re also very afraid that the state is going to impose a classroom size which will be much higher than what most districts currently set as their maximum."

A spokeswoman for Governor Snyder says open access to quality education would encourage innovation. She says the governor would only require school districts to open their doors when they have the capacity to do so.

"The Governor proposed mandatory choice only when school districts have space/capacity, which should help overcome those concerns," Sara Wurfel wrote in an email.

Just how “capacity” is defined is expected to be the biggest fight as debate on the legislation gets under way.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.