If ever you want evidence that Betsy DeVos bought and paid for the legislature in Michigan, consider the decision just made by the State Senate to take money approved by voters for their public schools and give it to charter schools. More than 80% of the state’s charters operate for profit. They get worse results than the state’s public schools. The state has minimal expectations or accountability for charter schools. Why are they getting more money?

“The Michigan Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday that will allow charter schools in the state to collect revenues from enhancement millages levied by intermediate school districts.

“Republicans said the bill would treat all students — whether they attend traditional public schools or charter schools — fairly, but Democrats said the legislation was stealing money that voters approved for traditional public schools and shifting those funds to charter schools.

“I introduced this bill because there are 14,000 … students in Kent County that aren’t being treated fairly,” said Sen. David Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “And there are 56,000 students in Wayne County that aren’t being treated fairly either.”

“But Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, said voters approved the millages with the knowledge that the money would go to traditional public schools in their county.

“This bill takes school funding, which is already stretched to the max in the state, and tries to stretch it even further,” he said. “This is corporate welfare. It’s stealing.”

“Enhancement millages can be used for just about anything by a school district, including lowering class sizes, hiring teachers, upgrading technology or purchasing materials.

“The Wayne County school districts could be hit the hardest if the legislation receives final passage because the county has more than 100 charter schools. The county approved a 10-year enhancement millage in 2016 that is raising $80 million annually that is split among the county’s 33 public school districts.

“Hildenbrand said his intent with the bill is that it won’t affect existing millages, only when a renewal or new millage comes up before voters. But in its analysis of the bill, the Senate Fiscal Agency concluded it would apply to existing millages, too.

“And Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said the language in the bill is so vague that charter schools — some of them for-profit operators from out-of-state — could claim the funding.

“The language matters and it was ambiguous at best and at the very least it’s showing that we’re putting profits before educating all of our students,” Ananich said.”

Why fund failure?