Editor’s Note: Get a DPS deal done, lawmakers
The Michigan Senate is expected to vote this week on a deal to bailout Detroit Public Schools and return control to an elected school board this fall.
Some lawmakers and Detroit stakeholders are grumbling over the compromise legislation, which the House passed on Thursday. But that’s the rub with any compromise —neither side gets everything it wants.
It’s a solid deal, and the Senate should pass it — as it is anticipated to do — even though that chamber will likely give up the bipartisan votes it had for the original bills passed in March.
Under the legislation, DPS would avoid insolvency and bankruptcy, and could use the $617 million to pay down debt and create a new district to start fresh with educating students.
The House put in more money in exchange for the Senate leaving out a controversial concept called the Detroit Education Commission. That commission, which would be appointed solely by Mayor Mike Duggan, concerned school choice advocates since it would play a major role in monitoring school quality and controlling school openings for district and charter schools.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said he wouldn’t have put the deal up for a vote if he wasn’t confident the Senate would approve it. So that’s a good sign. Plus, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and Gov. Rick Snyder seem on board.
Cotter also said these DPS bills would “protect the massive investment by Michigan taxpayers.” The Senate should make sure that piece is strong enough so that taxpayers don’t face another bailout in the future.