“Early this morning, the Michigan House voted on a package of bills attempting to address the dire situation in the Detroit Public Schools. I am deeply saddened by the situation in DPS, as well as with the House Republicans’ legislative plan to address this crisis. The situation in DPS, much like what happened in the city of Flint, has occurred under state control. There is no debate that emergency managers made a disaster of the district’s finances. Now it is the state’s job to step in and fix the mess that it has created. Unfortunately, the plan put forth is riddled with flaws and is a blatant attack on unions.
“It is an embarrassment that the financial picture in DPS is so unclear. The amount needed to pay teachers this year for work they have already done cannot be verified because there has been no audit. The bills do not even call for an audit to be carried out. The funding being provided by this package has not been properly determined, but is certainly not enough. Clearly, this topic will have to be revisited by the Legislature in as soon as a few years. The fact that no education commission was created in the bills means the problem of too many schools in one neighborhood and too few in others will not be remedied.
“I could not support a plan that will ultimately have a negative impact on the rest of our state, nor a plan that is unfair to the students, teachers and residents of Detroit. The keys to a proper DPS reform plan are a focus on academic improvements, a path to a sound financial future, and input from Detroit leaders and residents.”