Detroit school board shows support for Garden City superintendent

Her words upset many in her mostly white school district but Garden City's superintendent is finding support in Detroit.

Michelle Cline's color commentary on Michigan's school funding crisis sparked controversy at a recent school district budget meeting.

"We do not want to be the first predominantly white community that loses its school district and we have to work together," she said Monday. "Right now all the school districts they have taken down have been predominantly black communities.

"It will be unfortunate if we are the first white school district and they're going to take one and I hope it's not going to be us." 

But Cline is receiving cover from an unlikely source - Detroit Public Schools board members voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting Cline - saying her remarks were not racist, but reality

"She was saying white privilege won't save you this time," said Detroit trustee Lamarr Lemons. "They're going to take a white district this time."

Acting as private citizens, Detroit school board members helped file a class action lawsuit against the state of Michigan accusing it of applying the emergency manager law in a racist manner.

The majority of school districts that have either received an emergency manager or have been dissolved all together are predominantly black.

"But since we have a lawsuit, they're going to have to get a sacrificial lamb," Lemons said. "A white district or two to say it's not a racist law the districts just happened to be black that they've taken over."

Garden City schools started the academic year more than half a million dollars in the hole. 

The state rejected it's deficit elimination plan and now the district has to cut more costs or risk being dissolved.

In a statement released Monday, Cline wrote:

"There is apathy and I wonder if that is because the districts that have gone down are predominantly black schools. The people in the audience didn't seem to believe we could go under. I wondered if the staff thought this wouldn't happen because Garden City is predominantly white. Nobody seems to care about predominantly black schools. The people in the audience didn't seem to believe we could go under. is that because we are predominantly white? That is why I said what I said."

And if there's anyone in her corner, it's Detroit's school board.

FOX 2 reached out Garden City schools to get Cline's thoughts on the Detroit school board's support of her but were told she was out of town.

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