DETROIT (WWJ) – A state House committee has approved a plan to restructure the Detroit Public School district. The plan includes $500 million to pay of its debt, as well as a $33 million emergency loan to pay its teachers through the summer.
It does not include an additional $200 million approved by the Senate in March.
During the hearing, State Representative Sarah Roberts questioned Ken Osborne with the Michigan Treasury Department about funding:
“There’s a lot of money on the table here, but my concern is, is it the right amount of money? Are we actually solving the problem and what I’m hearing from you is, you don’t know if it does,” said Roberts.
“That’s right,” replied Osborne, “we haven’t had a chance to evaluate the specifics.”
“And that’s the position of the treasury department – we can’t even support these bills right now because you don’t even know if it solves the problem,” said Roberts.
Democratic Representative Fred Durhal of Detroit spoke to the continuing frustration.
“We’re putting a band-aid over a gunshot wound over and over because we don’t have accurate numbers and the state is responsible for this district currently — it’s under emergency management — and there is no emergency that has been managed in the last 10 years,” said Durhal.
State Representative Earl Poleski (R) of Jackson had stronger feeling about recent teacher protests.
“They are despicable,” said Poleski of the sickout action by the teachers, “to use the foulest adjective I can think of, to apply to someone who would consider themselves a professional. Their actions have been grossly unprofessional – it is educational malpractice.”
The bills now move to the full House, which is expected to vote this week.