DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered a state of the city address heavily focused on the needs of the city’s children.

Duggan on Tuesday proposed a unified school bus system that would transport students from charter schools and the Detroit school district. He contends the loop on the city’s northwest side would provide the students with school choice, after-school programs and child care.

The mayor said more than 32,000 Detroit children attend school outside the city, compared with 51,000 who attend city schools and 35,000 who attend charter schools. The proposal would be an effort to keep kids in the city.

The mayor also announced a joint schools advisory commission.

Duggan’s speech also focused on efforts to combat crime, adding police officers to the force, and a plan to have every abandoned home in the city demolished, renovated or boarded by 2020.

Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikoli Vitti spoke to WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vicki Thomas about increasing the number of kids staying in the city’s schools. He echoed the mayor’s sentiment: “This is going to be a gradual process … of rebuilding the school district, and bringing people back to the city. I think success is defined by one more student. Staying in their neighborhood to go to school rather than going to the suburbs.”

Duggan touted the success of the Detroit Promise program — which guarantees high school students a college education after graduation.

Duggan emphasised the importance of people who stayed in Detroit during the roughest economic period and for those that have helped in the resurgence of the city. At one point roughly 1,000 people a week were leaving the city.

“That departure has slowed to a trickle,” said Duggan.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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