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Michigan Legislature Repeals Preferential Hiring Requirement for Special Education Personnel

By Marshall W. Grate / Jan 17, 2017

On January 3, 2017, Governor Snyder signed into law Public Act 429, which is to take immediate effect. This Act repeals a somewhat obscure provision of the Michigan Revised School Code. Section 1766, MCL 380.1766, required a constituent school district to give preference to the special education employees, laid off by the intermediate school district (ISD), before considering other applicants. This statute was enacted 40 years ago to ensure that special education personnel would be protected during large scale reorganization of special education programs in Michigan. 

Apparently, some argued that the statute no longer served the best interest of children or school districts. For example, the statute would give a preference to a special education teacher, who was laid off by the ISD from an assignment with emotionally-impaired high school students, for an assignment with cognitively-impaired elementary students at a constituent school district. The statute potentially would force districts to hire personnel who had insufficient training or experience for a particular special education program. 

Although there was some opposition to the bill, it passed and has now been signed into law. There no longer is any preference for hiring special education teachers who may have been laid off by an intermediate school district. If you have any questions regarding this development, please contact Marshall W. Grate at (616) 608-1103 | mgrate@clarkhill.com or another member of Clark Hill's Education practice group.