Passage of SB618 Brings Hope to Rural Education Matters Efforts to Open Charter School

Governor Rick Snyder Signs SB618 into

law on December 20, 2011

Rural Education Matters has continued to pursue the opening of a Public School Academy, otherwise known as a charter school, for over two years. During that time our board members have received training on curriculum, board procedures and etiquette, school budgets, and school law. Our board has traveled to conferences to network with other like minded individuals that feel that parents have a right to live up to their responsibility in making sure their children receive the very best education possible. Our board has also visited and networked with other charter schools such as The Chatfield School in Lapeer. We experienced the innovation that can be pursued when teachers are not bound by limited curriculum and community involvement. Many students have not even experienced the possibilities that could be available to them.

On October 12th our board members as well as many supporters and committee members of Rural Education Matters boarded a chartered bus to travel to Lansing. The Michigan Legislation was attempting to pass Senate Bill 618 which would lift the cap on universities so that more charters can be opened. Originally our board president, Jennifer Jarosz, was to testify. However due to the ever changing agendas in Lansing plans changed. This did not hinder our board as we still had an opportunity to attend a House Education Committee meeting, get recognized by both the House and the Senate, and sit down one on one with Representative Bruce Rendon and Senator Darwin Booher.

On November 2nd a smaller group traveled back to Lansing and Jennifer Jarosz, accompanied by fellow board members, testified before the House Education Committee. Jarosz shared the story of St. Helen’s Elementary school and further explained how our issue started out in anger and has grown into passion for choice. A couple of weeks later Jarosz and fellow board member Scott Marshall traveled to Lansing one more time to sit down with four representatives that were either opposed or on the fence in regards to the bill. They shared a perspective that the legislators may not have considered.

On November 30th the House Education Committee voted to move SB618 forward followed by a full House approval on December 14th. On December 20th Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill into law. This is great news for parents throughout Michigan as it means that they could see more educational opportunities within their communities. What this means for the area supported by Rural Education Matters is that authorizers can take a closer look at our needs and desires. This legislation could open many doors to the efforts of opening the doors to Charleton Heston Academy. If you would like more information on the efforts to open a charter school that is anticipated to serve the needs of students in Roscommon, Ogemaw, and surrounding communities then attend the monthly public meetings on the first Thursday of the month at 7pm at the Richfield Township Hall in St. Helen, MI. You can also visit the website at and add our facebook page by going to

Reprinted with permission from The FISH Newspaper January 2012 issue