Detroit schools legislation held up in Lansing


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The conversation over the fix for Detroit Public Schools continues in Lansing.

The price tag of about $720 million a year for the next decade is included in a plan that has passed the state Senate, but the House has not yet agreed to.

“Right now we do have some significant differences having to do with the governance,” said Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, who has been working on the plan.

Part of the deal the Senate passed would let the district get out from other its current debt while providing an influx of money going forward. It also relies heavily on the buy in of stake holders in Detroit.

“As I look at it I have to make sure that this is a Detroit solution because if we try to do something, you know a solution from Lansing never works,” Hansen said.

Democrats agree that the Senate has come up with a workable plan and Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, says the state House needs to follow suit.

“You look at what we came to a compromise here in the Senate. We had Democrats and Republicans come together, put the partisan ideology aside and put the kids first in Detroit,” Knezek said. “And so I think the package that we kicked out of the Senate is a great product. It’s on the House now to show some leadership.”

While some in the House want more accountability, that’s only one issue.

The problem is not just a money problem, it’s a matter of Lansing and Detroit creating an environment on the political level that will serve students on the educational level.

Senate Majority Leader and Republican Arlan Meekhof says all parties have to build relationships.

“Well the result of the things that Senator Hansen moved through the Senate here is very good public policy. Encourages Detroit Public Schools to own the solution and I think the relationships he’s built to craft what he’s crafted will show the House that it’s a really good package,” Meekhof said.

The Hansen Plans would allow Detroit Public Schools to go forward without the current debt.

The hope is that would clear the way for the education of more than 45,000 students in the system.

For now, the Detroit Public Schools are operating on some $40 million of stopgap funding, which due to expire in June.

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