State aid money should not be used in suits against state

Although many educators may oppose this viewpoint, we believe language included in the new state budget prohibiting school districts from using state money to underwrite lawsuits against the state is a good idea.

The fiscal year 2017-18 state school aid budget was approved by the State Senate Monday. The State House of Representatives OK’d the budget last week.

“It doesn’t say you can’t sue the state,” state Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, who chairs the House Education Reform committee and the House Appropriations school-aid subcommittee, told the Detroit Free Press for Monday’s editions. “I don’t think it’s right for schools that are state entities to use state aid dollars — money that could go into the classroom — to sue the state.”

But Peter Spadafore, associate executive director of the Michigan Association of School Administrators, disagreed, questioning the language’s constitutionality.

“There are ways this can be addressed differently,” he told the Free Press.

While Spadafore might have a point in some technical sense, multiple school districts from across the state are taking the state to court or threatening to and it’s hard to see where the funding to support those suits will come from, if it’s not from the state, given the old system.

The money that local schools get from Lansing should be used to support children in classrooms, not lawyers in courtrooms.