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 Thursday.
The legislation, authored by Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg, ensures that a board member or a legal counsel or consultant to a school district, intermediate school district or PSA would also have to disclose whether he or she has a conflict of interest and exactly what the conflict of interest is.
“This bill will make sure there are proper safeguards established in our schools so as not to enter into a conflict of interest,” 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 transactions when their family members are employees of the school district have been building for some time now.
A public school academy board member is currently prohibited from serving if a family member is an employee of the district.
“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 abstain from voting,” Hune said.
SB 1051 now continues to the House of Representatives for further consideration.