This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the proposal to consolidate school districts into county-wide systems, the canceled bus tour for Detroit creditors, and the new changes on the Detroit City Council.
Consolidating services for school districts
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has previously proposed to consolidate the Michigan education system into county-wide districts; this would create 83 districts from the current 540. But Flanagan realizes this would be a big change; so yesterday he proposed to consolidate services for school districts on a county-wide level instead. Services like transportation, food, and staff training would be handled by the county. Flanagan says the plan would save hundreds of millions of dollars. This would mean, however, that many jobs in education in Michigan would become redundant.
Detroit creditors' bus tour canceled
Kevyn Orr, Detroit's emergency manager, planned a bus tour of Detroit's most blighted areas for the city's creditors today. However, the event was canceled this morning. Orr intended to show the creditors just how bad it still is in Detroit and how the city simply cannot afford to pay off its debts. In a statement, the emergency manager’s office said the creditors wanted more time to talk with Orr about the city’s financial state. The tour could be rescheduled; however, Jack Lessenberry thinks the whole event was created to grab the media's attention, and the creditors didn't like that.
Changes in the Detroit City Council
Yesterday, Saunteel Jenkins was named the new President of the Detroit City Council and Andre Spivey was selected as President Pro Tempore. The council is now down to 6 active members; the remaining members include Saunteel Jenkins, Andre Spivey, Ken Cockrel Jr., Brenda Jones, James Tate, and Charles Pugh. Pugh was the former council president but was stripped of his duties and pay by emergency manager Kevyn Orr after not showing up for work for over a week. He is still technically a member of the council but Orr says even if he shows up, his vote will not count.
Last Friday former Detroit City Council member Kwame Kenyatta resigned, then on Monday Gary Brown, former president pro tempore, resigned to accept a position in Orr's office. Orr has ordered the council not to appoint new members to replace Kenyatta and Brown.
- Erica Decker, Michigan Radio Newsroom