August 28, 2023

MDE, SBE Respond to Attorney General’s Letter Regarding MiLEAP

Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and State Board of Education President Dr. Pamela Pugh are providing initial reactions to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s response letter to the State Board’s request for an opinion on the constitutionality of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order that creates the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential (MiLEAP).

The State Board of Education (SBE) on August 8 voted unanimously to request an opinion from the attorney general on how the board’s constitutionally secured authority over all public education in Michigan may be affected by the creation of MiLEAP. 

The attorney general responded that the governor’s executive order “is not yet effective and therefore has not been implemented by MiLEAP. And the Board acknowledges that, at this point, there is only the potential for overlap in the future, and no specific set of facts was provided for review.” 

The attorney general’s response added that “after the EO becomes effective in December and MiLEAP begins to ‘implement its vision,’ there could be actions taken by MiLEAP that the Board contends infringe on its constitutional authority. It is at that point, where a specific set of facts exists, that an opinion may be appropriate. Unless and until such a situation arises, however, issuing any type of opinion on potentially overlapping authority of the Board and MiLEAP is premature.” 

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said that he “appreciates the attorney general’s review and initial reflections, as well as the letter’s ramifications.” 

“Given the response from the attorney general, I believe that the actions and possible encroachment of the new department will be closely monitored,” said State Board of Education President Dr. Pamela Pugh. “The State Board will not stand by and watch its authority be threatened or stripped away, at the expense of our children’s future.”