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Kurtz criticized over vote on education bill that passed Thursday in the House

LANSING, MI (WTVB) -A year after it first passed the House, the bill that could one day allow the state-run Education Achievement Authority, or EAA, to operate struggling public schools outside of the current number of 15 in the city of Detroit made it out of the House once again Thursday afternoon.  After fierce attacks from Democrats, members voted 56 to 54 for HB 4369, which supporters say would provide the state with more options for trying to turnaround failing schools that find themselves in the State School Reform/Redesign District. 58th District Representative Ken Kurtz of Coldwater voted in favor of the bill, and was criticized for that vote by Coldwater Superintendent of Schools Dr Tina Kerr during comments at last night’s Branch County Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner. Kerr is the outgoing chair of the Chamber board. Democrats see the bill as merely an attempt to expand the EAA's reach across the state. Supported by Governor Rick Snyder, the EAA currently operates 15 schools in Detroit through an interlocal agreement with Eastern Michigan University. Supporters argued that the bill would bring a long-needed change to help persistently failing schools. Under current law, schools under the state's "restart model" can be put under the management of an "educational management organization." Under HB 4369, failing schools could also be turned around by another traditional public school, the EAA or an Intermediate School District.