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House Passes Plan for Detroit Public Schools

May 06, 2016

Following a nearly fourteen hour session, the House passed a package of bills reforming Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and appropriating funds to keep the schools afloat.  The bill package was passed without the support of any of the members of the Democratic caucus.  The bills would appropriate $33 million in emergency funding and $500 million to pay down debt.  The $500 million would come from the Tobacco Settlement Fund, however that amount is less than the $715 million the Governor called for and the Senate supported in legislation earlier this year.  Additionally, the bills would create a new district charged with education matters and the current DPS would remain to pay the debt and receive local tax revenue. 

Additional highlights of the package include:

  • Allowing legal proceedings regarding strikes to be brought by the state superintendent or a parent
  • A $5,000 per day fine for employees who participate in a strike or lockout
  • There would be an interim school board comprised of appointees of the governor and Detroit Mayor.  School board elections would be held in August 2017 for terms beginning January 1, 2018.
  • The Financial Review Commission would be given authority to approve the school board’s selection for superintendent
  • Require performance based pay for teachers
  • The House plan did not include a commission to oversee the opening and closing of schools within the city.  This is a key difference from the Senate as they included such a commission in their package.

The package is comprised of both House and Senate bills, as such the Senate would need to vote to concur in the changes made by the House.  The House bills will be sent to Senate committee for further consideration. “There are major differences between the House, Senate, and administration’s plans and those will need to be worked out.  This process could become very contentious and will be a major focus of the legislature in the coming weeks,” stated Tony Des Chenes of MLC.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.