Lawmakers allocate $48.7 mil in emergency aid to Detroit schools
DETROIT (WJBK) - Members of the union for Detroit teachers experienced relief and obvious optimism Thursday after Michigan lawmakers voted to extend $48.7 million in emergency aid to rescue the district.
"If (we) had not received that $48.7 million, we have students that probably would not have graduated. We have students who had scholarships in jeopardy, and parents trying to figure out what they (were) going to do with their kids for the next couple of months. It just would have been a disastor," said Ivy Bailey, Detroit Federation of Teachers interim president.
The six-piece bill will keep Detroit's drowning school district open for the rest of the school year, avoiding potential payless paydays. Teachers had been told they wouldn't be paid after April 8.
"Right now, they know that they're going to have a paycheck, and they're going to be working, and they're going to be able to educate their students until the end of the school year," Bailey said.
A main piece of the bill will split the district in two -- something Bailey said naturally, she's not a fan of, but at this point, she just wants the school system to surive.
Planning to approve the legislation, Gov. Rick Snyder has said passing the bill was "critically important" in the district of 46,000 students burdened with low enrollment and low morale, which led to teacher sick-outs.
Bailey said 2,000 teachers are still waiting to be reimbursed sfter loaning money to the district.
"We put students first, and so whatever it took to keep the district viable, to keep the district going, and to keep our children in school, that's what we tried to do," she said.
As Snyder wants the state to spend $715 million over the next 10 years to eliminate the district's debt., Bailey awaits approval on that package.
"That's what we're waiting on now. I'm confident that the legislators will once again, put children first, and do the rigth thing by passing that package of bills also," she said.