Rutledge hopes new workgroup will help equal playing field for charter schools and traditional public schools
State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, has been appointed to a new state panel established by the recently enacted charter schools expansion legislation.
Rutledge is one of two Democratic legislators on the eight-member Workgroup on School Quality, a bicameral body that will convene in January.
Rutledge said it's his hope that the workgroup will move Michigan toward a more equal playing field for both charter schools and traditional public schools.
"I had some major concerns about the charter expansion bill that came before the House this fall," Rutledge said in a statement. "I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of a larger solution to our state's public education system."
The new Workgroup on School Quality was required by Public Act 277 of 2011, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law earlier this week.
Members were appointed by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.
Other appointees include Reps. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton; Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake; and Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia; and Sens. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale; Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton; Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor; and Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, who will serve as chair.
Rutledge proposed a number of amendments to the legislation, Senate Bill 618, when it came before the House Education Committee and on the House floor.
He ultimately voted against it. Among his amendments were changes that would have prohibited for-profit companies from running charter schools using public dollars, and limiting charters from opening in high-performing districts.
"When Speaker Bolger asked me to consider serving on the workgroup, I was eager to accept," Rutledge said. "There is nothing more vital to Michigan's long-term success than public education, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect our state's precious school system."
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.