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Mich. Court of Appeals hears arguments in tax dollars to non-public schools case

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals will decide if the state can give money to private and parochial schools for expenses that stem from state mandates.

The court heard arguments in the lawsuit today. More than a dozen public school institutions and the ACLU are suing the state over its plans to give millions of dollars to non-public schools. In 2016 Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law that lets the state reimburse nonpublic schools for mandates like concussion training, EpiPens and background checks.

“This case is about promoting the health, safety, and welfare of all the school children in this state, no matter where they go to school,” Jonathan Ludwig is an assistant state attorney general. "That’s what it’s about." He says the law is constitutional.

Opponents, and the Michigan Court of Claims, say it’s unconstitutional for the state to give public money to nonpublic schools. 

“We have limited resources in our state, public schools are already underfunded and hurting. They need taxpayer support," said Daniel Korobkin of the ACLU of Michigan. "And diverting that taxpayer support to private schools is unconstitutional.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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