Lansing lawmakers get look at proposal to fix Detroit schools

- Lawmakers in Lansing have introduced a new plan to fix Detroit's public school problems. It would call for the election of a new school board in November and the governor and mayor would work together to bridge the gap.

Governor Rick Snyder first called for overhaul of the Detroit school system last April. His plan includes $700 million to buy down the deficit and an oversight commission to monitor the spending. Nine months later, the lawmakers got a look at the legislation that would do that.

After waiting nine months to see the plan, the governor wants lawmakers to do this.

Mayor Duggan had a lot of input on this package and the governor is hoping the mayor will lobby for this package with a deadline of next spring. However, in a statement on Thursday, he did not endorse it.

If lawmakers do not adopt this package by the spring, the school district could go into bankruptcy. The GOP chair of the house budget committee is not ready to write a check to fix the problem just yet.

"I want to see a whole plan. I'm not just going to write checks. If there is a plan, if there are some reforms, I think that's one of our priorities," Rep. Al Pscholka said.

State Treasurer Nick Khouri has a dire warning about the problem.

"The district clearly has near term cash problems. Without intervention, they'll probably run out of cash by the early spring or summer," Khouri said, adding that they could miss paydays unless action is taken by lawmakers.

However, Detroit Democrat Harvey Santan has his own warning. He argues its not enough to pour money into the schools without addressing the social needs of the students.

"I don't care how much money you invest in saving the Detroit public school system, the kids are going to tear it apart because of the social issues that walk into the schools with them," Santana said. "Its kinda like the Walking Dead. The only way to get rid of the zombies is to find a cure. You can't barricade yourself in, hoping not to get eaten.

The governor is hoping his cure will work, if lawmakers pass it.

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