Skip to Main Content
Blogs | February 5, 2015
1 minute read

MSC orders COA to hear plaintiffs’ alternative arguments in a case of false student attendance reports

In a dispute over more than a million dollars in education funding clawed back from school districts for improper attendance reporting (previously blogged here), the Michigan Supreme Court has vacated the Court of Appeals’ remand instructions and ordered the appellate court to hear the school districts’ alternative arguments. Galien Township School District v. Board of Education, No. 150406, centers on two school districts’ failures to properly report student attendance figures. Through administrative rulings, each school district involved retroactively lost $750,000 or more in state education funding. The cases made their way to the Court of Appeals, which held that one plaintiff—Galien Township School District—could not obtain declaratory relief because its claims failed to address a future harm. The Court rejected Galien’s argument that future retroactive audits might force the school districts to refund money in the future. Galien, therefore, could not show the “future harm” necessary for declaratory relief.

Not so fast, said the Supreme Court. It appeared on the record that the plaintiffs made alternative arguments and that the Court of Appeals failed to even mention them in its opinion. The Supreme Court, therefore, remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for consideration of the plaintiffs’ alternative arguments.  There will likely be more news to come on this case.