LANSING — State Representative Leslie Love (D-Detroit) voiced support today for portions of the supplemental appropriation bill, House Bill 5296, which passed the House yesterday and is now heading to the Senate. The bill is meant to provide bridge funding to Detroit Public Schools (DPS), which will run out of money in April without immediate intervention. While the representative applauded the $48.7 million offered to the schools, she spoke out against the stipulation that the money only be granted if the powers of the Detroit Financial Review Commission (FRC) are expanded.
“There’s no question that this money is needed, or that we’re appreciative of the Legislature moving swiftly,” said Rep. Love. “But ultimately the district is in trouble because of the disastrous decisions made by emergency managers, who were acting on behalf of the state. So to say that we’ll give them this money only if they submit to further state control is more than a little hypocritical.”
The $48.7 million appropriation is set to come from tobacco settlement money, and is related to larger package recently proposed by House Republicans. HB 5296 stipulates that in order for the $48.7M to be expended, a financial review commission would need to be in place for DPS, much like the one created in House Bill 5385, which passed at the same time. HB 5385 expands the current FRC, which since its bankruptcy has overseen Detroit, to include oversight of DPS as well. Among its provisions, this expansion would strip elected school boards of the right to approve or deny the appointment of a superintendent, a critical component of maintaining local control.
“It’s no question that approving the money was the right thing to do. It’s unconscionable to allow DPS employees to face payless paydays, or for thousands of students to be without a school, and to have parents miss work as they figure out what to do with their children,” said Rep. Love. “We’ve got to fix this system. And we shouldn’t have to subjugate our local officials to do it.”