Records: DeVos-supported initiative withdraws school funding petition

Judge slams Secretary DeVos for rejecting 94% of loan relief claims
Posted at 9:36 PM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 16:06:59-05

WXMI — FOX17 learned on Monday that a DeVos-backed petition submitted by "Let MI Kids Learn" has been withdrawn.

Records obtained from the Michigan Secretary of State confirm the withdrawal, which happened on December 28, 2022.

The initiative filed its petition with the Bureau of Elections in August 2022 and hoped to put the proposal in front of the Michigan legislature.

Govenor Whitmer has previously vetoed identical bills; however, a citizen-led petition, such as the one by "Let MI Kids Learn," could circumvent the executive veto by getting enough signatures and sending it straight to lawmakers.

READ MORE: Michigan initiatives miss deadline, will look to Legislature

In part, the two-part initiative proposed ways for students to more easily attend and afford private education, by establishing a scholarship allowing state per-pupil funding to be used toward non-public school students. The initiative also proposed a tax break for some private school donations.

"Let MI Kids Learn" was supported by Betsy DeVos, who is a former U.S Secretary of Education. Back in February, when the petition was still gathering signatures, DeVos was part of its launch, hosting a virtual campaign event and discussing the importance of open schools.

She argued the petition would let all kids access quality education. The DeVos family reportedly donated at least $400,000 to the drive.

However, critics compared the proposed scholarship to vouchers that would unconstitutionally route public assistance to nonpublic schools.

Peter Spadafore, executive director of the Michigan Alliance for Student Opportunity, said the petition was a "disastrous education plan" in a statement Monday, after the petition was withdrawn.

"Thankfully, the hundreds of millions of dollars that this would've cost the school aid fund can continue to be used in public classrooms with better results," he said on Monday. "With continued strong investments in our public school system, we can achieve the educational outcomes Michigan students deserve and that voters have called for."

Records obtained from the Michigan Secretary of State did not explain why "Let MI Kids Learn" withdrew the petition.

FOX17 reached out to "Let MI Kids Learn" on Monday but have not yet heard back.

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