LANSING – State Representative Brian Banks (D-Detroit) said today that House Republicans, who announced their plan to “fix” the Detroit Public Schools, (DPS) need to bring all stakeholders into the conversation because the state has run DPS for years and has failed.
“The House Republican-sponsored proposal discussed today sticks with the plan already introduced in the Senate and announced by Gov. Rick Snyder, which would create a new community district and leave the ‘old’ DPS district in existence to pay off the current DPS debt,” said Banks. “This plan focuses on debt, money and effectively dismantling the teachers union. The plan is woefully short on details of how we are going to improve our crumbling school buildings, decrease class size so that kids aren’t sharing a classroom with 50 other students, and stock DPS schools with the latest books, technology and teaching resources so our students can learn and our teachers can teach.”
As outlined in a press conference, House Republicans are looking at keeping the current DPS district open for the sole purpose of paying off the district’s debt. The Michigan Financial Review Commission would oversee the newly created community district. That oversight would last until the debt is repaid and the community district has maintained a balanced budget for 10 consecutive years.
“The state of Michigan has been operating DPS since 1999 through three administrations, and DPS is in debt and about to run out money. The new plan is to let the state continue to control DPS for at least another 10 years and likely more,” said Banks. “I don’t consider leaving out parents, Detroit educators, and elected school board members and others as progress.”
The Republican proposal also largely shuts down the teachers union by saying that the community district will be able to unilaterally make decisions about employees without having to negotiate with their union.
“Rather than demonizing teachers because they are member of a union, or because they speak out about the deplorable and crumbling conditions of too many DPS school buildings our students have to use, we should be putting the needs of our students first and working together to find a real solution to make DPS the world-class school district Detroit students deserve,” said Banks. “The bills introduced today are not a plan to ‘fix’ DPS. This is a plan to let the status quo of Lansing running the show to continue. And that’s not in the best interest of DPS, Detroit students or our state. But if House Republicans believe that these reforms are good for Detroit, then they should be good statewide and let’s deal with the education crisis throughout our state.”