Thursday, December 22, 2016

Proposal 1: Emergency manager law

Caty Martin, Marissa Bowes & Mariah Castillo
ThunderHawk Staff Writers
On November 6, many Americans will be voting for the office of president.  In Michigan people will also be voting on six different proposals. Without very much knowledge on each of the proposals it can be hard to decide which way to vote with each proposal.

Proposal One is asking voters if Public Act 4 – which established new guidelines for appointing an emergency manager – should be repealed or not.

Voting no on Proposal One repeals PA 4, although emergency managers could stay in place in school districts and cities that are in financial trouble, they would have the much weaker powers of the 1990 Emergency Manager Act.
Stand Up For Democracy is against Proposal One.  They say that Public Act 4 (PA 4) is a power grab by politicians.
The group says that this proposal will threaten democracy “The emergency manager legislation has zero oversight and zero accountability.” (see link here)
Voting yes on Proposal One keeps PA 4 in place, and emergency managers will keep their powers.
Governor Snyder and other supporters of Proposal One argue that with this law emergency managers will have more powers to balance the budget, preventing schools and cities from having to file for bankruptcy.
Some schools that already have been taken over by the Emergency Manager Law are Muskegon Heights, Benton Harbor, Flint, and school districts in the city of Detroit.

“The Emergency Manager Law we did is a very good law,” Governor Rick Snyder said.  “it makes a positive difference in Michigan. We have over 500 school districts, we have over 2,000 jurisdictions in our state.  We have eight communities and school districts in emergency status. Eight. That’s a fraction of 1 percent. But that fraction of 1 percent, these really are emergencies. There are real crisis going on that have been building for some time and something needed to be done.”

 The Detroit Free Press supports Proposal One and said “The law allows state officials to identify financial crises in local governments and schools while there is still an opportunity to take corrective action or directly intervene to restore solvency.” (see link here)
Mr. Gregg Stoel, a teacher at Hamilton High School, feels that the leaders of the government are elected by the people, therefore he feels that the electoral process should decide who is the manager and not the emergency manager.
“I don’t think communities like Hamilton will be effected,” he said, adding that Hamilton’s district is financially stable, and won’t need an emergency manager.
Hamilton Director of Secondary Education Doug Braschler agreed that is wouldn’t impact Hamilton, but he felt the law is necessary to turn around failing school districts more quickly than the old law allowed
“If you can’t take care of your house, somebody has to come in and clean it for you,” Mr. Braschler said.
Hamilton’s longtime business manager, Mr. Steve Aardema agreed.  Mr. Aardema now serves as the financial manager at Muskegon Mona Shores Public Schools and he said the law should stay in place the way it is.

Whether you feel that Proposal One should be passed or not be sure to vote on November 6, every vote counts!

– Madalyn Sharar and Jon Hernandez contributed to this report.

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