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Gov. Snyder proposes new plan to overhaul Detroit's school system

Oct 19, 2015

Gov. Snyder at a press conference this morning announcing his plan to overhaul the Detroit Public School District.
Credit screenshot / Livestream

Gov. Snyder's plan would split the current school district in two.

Similar to the GM bankruptcy, there would essentially be an "old" Detroit Public Schools district and a new district.

The old district would pay down the school system's debt with the current school millage in Detroit.

Snyder says DPS is expected to have $515 million in operating debt by June 2016.

Snyder says that debt could be paid off over 10 years using the $70 million a year the millage brings in.

The new district would be run by a board appointed by the Governor and Mayor Mike Duggan, which, according to Snyder, would transition to an elected board in subsequent years.

The governor’s plan also calls for a new layer of oversight for all public schools in the city. The Detroit Education Commission would oversee DPS, the city’s charter schools, and the Education Achievement Authority. It would have power to open and close schools in all those systems.

This plan would have to be approved by the Michigan Legislature, something Gov. Snyder says he hopes happens by the end of the year.

Snyder says he will ask the Legislature to cover the $70 million that would otherwise go into the School Aid Find, and that under his plan would go toward paying off DPS’s debt.

David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan, a teachers union, said in a press release that he's pleased to hear the governor ask the state to tackle the debt for Detroit Public Schools – “which has grown considerably under state control” – he writes.

But he says the union doesn't agree with how the plan would retain state control over the school system:

“We have deep concerns about what happens to the thousands of hard-working people employed by the Detroit Public Schools and their collective bargaining agreements during the transition to a new district. The Governor needs to commit to making the governance transition seamless for students, teachers, and staff, returning EAA schools to DPS, and fully empowering an elected school board.”

We will have more on this story later today.