LANSING, Mich.—Senate Bill 1051, a measure to prevent a school board member from voting when there is a conflict of interest, passed the state Senate Friday with overwhelming support.
The legislation, authored by Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg, ensures that a board member or legal counsel or consultant to a school district, intermediate school district or public school academy would also have to disclose whether he or she has a conflict of interest and specify what the conflict is.
“This bill will make sure there are proper safeguards are established in our schools in order to avoid conflicts,” said Hune. “School board members have great responsibility in their positions, and we must make sure that only fair judgments and votes can be cast without outside forces affecting their decision.”
Mounting concerns over local school board members voting on financial matters when their family members are employees of the school district have been building for some time now.
“The bill simply states that if a board member is presumed to have a conflict of interest due to his or her family member having a financial stake in the contract or other financial transaction, that the board member abstains from voting,” Hune said.
SB 1051 now awaits the governor’s signature.