Michigan House approves $617 million DPS rescue plan

- A $617 million Detroit Public Schools rescue plan was approved by the state House Thursday night - but it did not come without a fight.

State lawmakers worked late into the night trying to come up with a deal to bail out Detroit's Public Schools before approving the plan by a 55-53 vote.

The plan includes school board elections but not an education commission which Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. 

For one thing Democrats wanted $200 million for the Detroit schools and not like the $150 million the Republicans were offering.

"This entire House Republican plan flies in the face of common sense," said State Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Minority Leader).

Republicans, like state Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) would not budge from the $150 million.

Tim Skubick: "They need $200 million."

"Sorry, $150 (million), bank's closed," Pscholka said.

The GOP Speaker Kevin Cotter wanted to kill the Detroit Education Commission and replace it with the advisory panel but a handful of his party members disagreed.

Outside the house chamber, the lobbying was intense. A charter school lobbyist was urging a Macomb County Republican to vote no on the Detroit Education Commission.

Then there were labor union lobbyists urging a lawmaker to support the DEC.

After the school lobby was done with this Republican, his mind was not changed.

"There's a good compromise on the table we have to get it done," said Edward Canfield (R-Sebewaing).

Skubick: "They asked you not to vote yes?"

"Yes they did," Canfield said. "That does not mean I'm not voting yes on the package,"

Detroit Democrats were not happy because the GOP did not consult with them on what should be in the plan.

"When you have colleagues from the other side of the aisle that are coming out with legislation absent of Detroit lawmakers' voice, absent of the Detroit communities' voice, this is what you end up with - a slap in the face," said Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods).

Skubick: "You will not vote yes? (rep) absolutely not.

But then Gov. Rick Snyder indicated he would buy the house GOP plan without the DEC even though for weeks he said it needed to be in the package. 

But Snyder concluded sending $617 million to the Detroit schools was the most important thing.

And that green light probably helped to move some wavering Republicans into the yes column. Now the proposal now goes to the Senate where the leader says he backs the house plan.

The question is will he get 20 senators to agree? 

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