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Gov. Whitmer says Michigan should not pay for private schools

court gavel
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has filed a legal brief that supports a lawsuit challenging state payments to private and parochial schools.

The Democratic governor is supporting a challenge to a provision tucked into the state budget in 2016 by Republicans. It set aside $2.5 million dollars to help private schools cover some of their costs.

The payments cover the costs of complying with health and safety regulations.

Lower state courts have split on whether this is legal. The case is now before the Michigan Supreme Court.

The governor’s legal filing argues the Michigan Constitution clearly forbids public funds going to non-public schools for pretty much any reason. That’s according to an amendment adopted by voters in 1970.

The state superintendent of public instruction also signed onto the brief.

CORRECTION: An earlier headline for this story said the Governor was opposed to spending state money on bussing for private schools. That is not the case and transporation is clearly differentiated in the brief.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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