Michigan Governor Signs Bill Sending $48.7 Million to Detroit Schools

LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill Tuesday that will send $48.7 million to the financially struggling Detroit Public School district to ensure that it does not run out of cash and become forced to shut its doors next month.

The supplemental spending bill was given final approval by the Legislature last week after DPS transition manager Steven Rhodes, a retired U.S. bankruptcy judge, told lawmakers that the districts was poised to run out of cash on April 8 and force payless paydays on district employees.

“There was a pressing need in Detroit that lawmakers from all across the state came together to address, and they got it done quickly,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “This continues to demonstrate that the challenges at DPS aren’t just Detroit’s problem, they are concerns for all of Michigan. We are committed to academic improvement and long-term financial stability at DPS.”

Also signed was oversight for the district by the same financial review commission that has authority over the city of Detroit as it emerges from bankruptcy. The commission legislation adds two members — the transition manager and the superintendent of DPS — to deal with matters associated with the school district.

The plan gives the same Detroit Financial Review Commission that has monitored the city’s finances post-bankruptcy oversight of the school district’s finances only if the district’s emergency manager is removed. The original version included oversight by both the emergency manager and the commission.

The money for the district, however, is just part of the solution for DPS, which has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2009, and has an operating deficit of $515 million.

The Senate approved sweeping legislation last week that would split DPS into two, give a powerful new education commission control over school openings and closings, and set up a new A-F grading system to rate schools. The House has not yet taken it up.