Skubick: Efforts to save Detroit schools gain momentum

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – An historic day Thursday as hearings opened on saving the Detroit school system.

But some local lawmakers are worried Lansing school children may lose state support as a result.

It’s all part of the effort to keep Detroit schools out of bankruptcy later this spring.

Former GOP governor John Engler tried and failed.

So did former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Can this governor succeed where others have failed?

Nine months ago Governor Rick Snyder called on lawmakers to save the Detroit schools and today the first hearing on that objective began.

But the task is a toughy with so many competing forces at play including the state’s education lobby.

The governor is asking lawmakers to kick in $700 million over the next ten years to eliminate the Detroit school deficit and the governor’s original idea was to use the school aid fund to help do.

But local lawmakers would have to approve the move which could mean dollars now going to Lansing school kids could end up going to Detroit.

Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr says ”

But Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge is ready to help Detroit because if the state does not act, a judge could order the state to spend double the $700 million the governor wants.
“I’m going to support Detroit because if we don’t the cost could be much higher to taxpayer,” he explains. “I’m told about $1.5 billion.”

The Snyder administration has heard the fears of local schools around the state which don’t want to lose their money to help Detroit and state budget director John Roberts is working to avoid that.
“We heard those concerns and we are looking at alternatives to avoid that,” Roberts says. Roberts adds that the state is looking to zero the deficit without having to take from the overall K-12 budget.

The committee did not vote on anything today but it faces an April or early summer deadline.

If there is no rescue package for Detroit schools, the district could face payless paydays and 47,000 students would not be in the classrooms but on the streets instead.

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