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Detroit Public Schools “bound for elimination,” says lawmaker

Jun 5, 2015

Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At least one prominent Republican at the state Capitol believes Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is likely to be dissolved.

State lawmakers are debating ways to help turn around public schools in Detroit. Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to sell them on a plan to turn around the district. It includes shifting money from districts across the state to help DPS pay off debt.

State Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Twp., will play a big role in negotiations over ways to help turn around schools in Detroit. He chairs the committee that sets the state House’s K-12 school budget priorities.

Kelly says he’d be OK with dissolving the state’s largest district.

“I think it’s bound for elimination one way or another anyway,” he said during an appearance on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

“I think that they’ve had their opportunity. And, quite honestly, I think that they’ve squandered that opportunity, not only for the last 15 years but for the several years before.”

Kelly admits the state has played a role in some of the DPS’ failures.

“We have been involved for the last 15-some years in Detroit and – while I would suggest that it would be worse had we not intervened – we have some blood on our hands here,” he said.

Kelly says he’d support a voucher-like system, where the state would pay Detroit families to send kids to other schools.