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Education Policy Fellowship Program

A Plan to Reform

Michigan’s System of Education Funding

January 28, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

Over the past several months the Oxford Foundation has been leading an ambitious effort that may result in replacing Michigan’s existing State School Aid Act with a proposed Michigan Public Education Finance Act.  This project represents one of the most comprehensive education policy proposals to be considered in recent years, with ramifications for all Michigan school districts, students and their families.  From a policy formulation perspective, this effort provides a window for examining how various organizations, groups and individuals have engaged in the Public Education Finance Project and an opportunity to explore the development process and potential policy outcomes.  At the request of the Snyder Administration, Attorney Richard McLellan has been providing leadership for this effort and he will discuss the rationale, the process followed, and the project’s report that is expected to be released at the end of January 2013.

Resource Person:

Richard D. McLellan
McLellan Law Offices P.L.L.C.
201 Townsend Street, Suite 900
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 374-9111

Richard D. McLellan is a practicing lawyer with a 40-year career focusing on public policy and political matters.  Throughout his career, Mr. McLellan has accepted a wide range of government service assignments from the Governor, Supreme Court, Legislature and local governments.  By appointment of the Legislature, McLellan has served more than 20 years as a member or Chair of Michigan Law Revision Commission, which is charged to:

“Examine the…statutes of this state…for the purpose of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and recommending needed reforms [and] (r)ecommend changes in the law it considers necessary in order to …bring the law of this state into harmony with modern conditions.”

He presently serves as the unpaid Special Counsel to the Chair of the Appropriations Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives. He is a member of the Supreme Court’s Underground Economy Task Force by appointment of Justice Maura Corrigan.  Mr. McLellan has been appointed by the Governor of Michigan to the following positions:

  • Chair, Michigan Film Advisory Commission
  • Chairman, Michigan Corrections Commission
  • Designated as an Emergency Interim Successor to the Governor (1991-2002)
  • Governor's Representative, Upper Great Lakes Regional Economic Development Commission
  • Member, Governor's Victimless Crimes Task Force
  • Member, Michigan Jobs Commission
  • Member, Michigan Export Development Authority
  • Member, Michigan International Trade Authority
  • Member, McPherson Commission On Charter Schools
  • Acting Director, Michigan Office of Drug Abuse
  • Chairman, Qualifications Review Committee for federal judges and U.S. attorneys for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Western District and the Eastern District of Michigan

At the request of the Senate Majority Leader, McLellan helped establish and served for 10 years as Chair of the Library of Michigan Foundation supporting Michigan’s state library and statewide library and literacy programs.  At the request of Governor John Engler, McLellan established and served as President of the Michigan-Japan Foundation to provide private support to the Japan Center for Michigan Universities.  During the administration of President Gerald Ford, McLellan served as an advisor to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration as a member of the National Advisory Food and Drug Committee of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.  McLellan has been named by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero as a member of both the Mayor's Regionalization Initiative and the Mayor's Council of Economic Advisors.  By nomination of the Secretary of the Air Force, McLellan participated in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, U.S. Department of Defense (2007) reviewing U.S. military activities throughout the Pacific Command.  The National Governors Association presents the New Governors’ Seminar for all newly elected governors.  McLellan served on the faculty of the Seminar in 2002 advising new governors on the role of transition teams.

Mr. McLellan has an extensive background in tribal gaming and sovereignty issues, working with tribes in Michigan to seek federal tribal recognition.  He was also instrumental in developing Michigan’s gaming law and twice successfully defended Indian gaming compacts in the Michigan Supreme Court.  Richard McLellan is a 1964 graduate of Michigan State University's Honors College with a degree in advertising.  He received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1967.  In 2007, he was named an adjunct faculty member in MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of Communications Arts and Sciences to teach a course on "Issue Management" for undergraduate public relations students.

Resource Materials:

McLellan Law Office

Oxford Foundation – Michigan

Michigan Public Education Finance Project Update

The State School Aid Act of 1979

Interview with John Austin, President, Michigan State Board of Education – Off the Record, WKAR-TV; January 4, 2013 Advance your media player to 14.20 minutes.

Outline of Richard McLellan's argument (PDF)

Key points of Richard's presentation (Word)

Graphic showing the five elements of public education (Word)

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