There’s a story making the rounds here locally, that to put it mildly, I am more than a little surprised hasn’t been picked up by other media outlets around Michigan.
It seems that Emergency Manager Transition Manager Stephen Rhodes, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri, Gov. Snyder and a few select others within Michigan Government have felt that it is more important to bury some rather disturbing facts relating to Detroit Public Schools, rather than to make them public (Read:Better make sure that Michigan Taxpayers don’t EVER get wind of this!).
Nope, not the crumbling infrastructure of DPS.
And what is this little nugget you may ask?
H/T to the good people at Channel 7 in Detroit for breaking this story.
10x25MM has done a fine job pointing out the DPS foibles, and this morning reminds me that bankruptcy really was the legitimate option for the failed district. It appears that even after 617 Million has been approved, no one knows who is in charge yet. From the Detroit News:
Davis, who has been board president for two years, on Sunday said Lemmons was making his move.
“LaMar Lemmons is trying to hijack the ship, but he is not currently the president, even though he would like to be.”
Both insist they are following the June 9 board meeting results even though the stint is short..
Boys. boys… Just remember, the Captain goes down with the ship.
In any event, I mentioned election efforts, right? Below is a radio ad I have prepared to run this coming week, and then again closer to the election. I thought it might be of interest, and that THIS TOO might be of interest. Higher taxes.. Right?
The budget gap is the combined result of a revenue shortfall of about $330 million for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, plus higher Medicaid caseloads that are expected to cost the state about $130 million more than estimated, Budget Director John Roberts told journalists after the conference at the Capitol.
The added strain comes as the Legislature is already grappling with tens of millions of dollars in extra spending requests related to the Flint drinking water crisis and a major financial rescue that’s proposed for the Detroit Public Schools.
The Michigan House just voted to give the Detroit Public Schools a $500 million bailout and the State Senate wants to give $800 million.
104th State Representative and incumbent Larry Inman explains it away as a necessary evil. He suggested on the Ron Jolly radio program Wednesday morning, that lawyers warned house leadership that if they didn’t do something, the courts would take over, and it could be far worse. He referenced the Michigan constitution, and its requirement on the legislature to provide funding for the schools.
My guess is that he did not ask the question of the attorneys advising the house “what might happen if every school district subjected the taxpayers to the same challenge?”
YES, the state is supposed to provide an education. The legislature is supposed to “maintain and support a system of elementary and secondary schools.. ” In fact, From the state constitution:
Despite having been “locked out” by administration (seriously, that is what the DFT was using as a speaking point on every local talking head show last weekend), things went back to normal by Wednesday.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept of how calling in sick en masse is somehow the equivalent of being “locked out” from your place of employment…but I digress.
Unlike the bailout proposed by the Michigan Senate, the House package is about $200-million lighter than the Senate’s, and is choked so full of poison-pill provisions that it is guaranteed to cause even more problems.
“Not to worry! With a little elbow grease and some friendly verbal persuasion, we’ll have you upright and humming along the road in no time,” our relentlessly positive Gov Snyder allegedly remarked about the latest DPS bailout.
Its for the children, right? HB5296, a $48.7 Million bill to get DPS through the school year, met little resistance from our state legislature, with seven senate, and only four house members opposing the final package. How could anyone vote to essentially close the doors? Its a valid question, and the intent should be considered honorable. However, an honest assessment of the overall situation can only remind us that it is with the best intent that we fail our children once again.
If the vote to hand over the money eradicated all debt, and set the course for district solvency, it would be hard to argue against such logic. However, the greater debt and liability still exists, and the precedent is set for the remaining $700,000,000 bailout that is next to come for DPS. Even that number is of questionable sufficiency, and is likely to be higher. Even with a bailout of this magnitude, it would be foolish to think it would be the end of hands out from a district that has produced 25% graduation rates, all the while receiving the highest per capita foundation payments.
Let us not forget also, that Detroit Schools represent only a part of the state’s public education apparatus. To be sure, it is not the only school district in Michigan that is facing obligations that seem insurmountable. What are we to do next when Grand Rapids Schools, Lansing, or even Traverse City Area Public Schools cry “No Mas!” throwing up their hands in futility?