Skubick: House committee okays $48.7M for Detroit schools; other districts not pleased

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The head of the Lansing school board is concerned that emergency state aid to the Detroit schools may result in other schools asking for the same assistance and that could reduce state aid to Lansing schools.

It all gets back to the effort to avoid payless paydays in Detroit.

On April 8th, if the state legislature does not act, there will be payless paydays in the Detroit schools.

Some of those teachers and students attended the House budget committee hearing today where lawmakers voted to use $48 million from the tobacco settlement fund to avoid payless paydays in Detroit.

But the president of the Lansing school board is concerned. Peter Spadafore argues Lansing has balanced its budget but other schools that have not may now come to lawmakers asking for a hand out like the one for Detroit. And long term, money for Lansing schools might be redirected to those poorer districts.

“If we’re going to have more and more schools coming to the legislature requesting supplemental money to make those paydays we should probably take a look at the system rather than the symptoms,” said Spadafore.
Reporter: “Because if you don’t Lansing could get hurt?”
Spadafore: “If we don’t take a look at the system schools like Lansing that have been responsible stewards of public money will get hurt.”

Lawmakers will leave on Spring Break March 24 and some worry, if they are on break while 47,000 Detroit kids are on the streets, that might not look very good.

“Those optics would not be good but that’s really not why we’re doing this, we’re doing this because kids need to have teachers, teachers deserve to get paid,” said Rep. Ed Canfield (R), Caro.

With movement in the House, the Senate has to pass this too, the Senate Republican leader has not signed off yet but the Republican budget chair has.

“Yeah, we I, I don’t want any payless paydays and we have hard working teachers in Detroit just like we have all across the state so they should be paid for the work they do and it’s just unfortunate that we’re in this position financially for one of the largest school districts in the country,” said Sen. David Hildenbrand (R), Senate Budget Chair.

There is a possibility the House and Senate action could open the door for other schools to seek the same kind of emergency help. Lansing school officials are hoping that will be the case.

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