Survey: Senate's DPS plan has most support, voters back controlling Detroit charter schools growth

DETROIT – A statewide survey of voters revealed more people prefer the Michigan Senate's plan instead of the House's plan to deal with the Detroit Public Schools district's debt problem. 

Moreover, according to the survey results, more people support controlling growth in Detroit charter schools than those who oppose such -- 42.7 percent of respondents said they support it while 37.8 percent said they don't. 

DPS debt legislation

Voters were read descriptions of current plans in the Senate and House (read below) to help the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district deal with its $467 million debt problem. About 30 percent of respondents support the Senate's plan while about 18 percent support the House's. Overall, 49.2 percent of respondents said they support either the Senate or House plans while 39.2 percent said they don't support either plan. 

The Senate plan for DPS

Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Michigan Senate support a plan which would pay off $467 million in debt for the Detroit Public Schools. DPS also would receive an additional $200 million in transition costs to repair existing schools and invest in improved education programs. The governor, mayor and Senate argue that without this additional funding, DPS will start off in debt again as the district grapples with these existing needs.

The House plan for DPS

Meanwhile, the House also supports a plan which would pay off the $467 million in debt for DPS.  In addition, the Detroit Public Schools would receive only $33 million for transition costs to repair existing schools and invest in education programs.  State House leaders question why the state should subsidize building repairs for one single school system.

Read back: Senate leaders, Detroit Public Schools parents hope House will reconsider funding

More detailed survey results:

  • 52.9 percent of West Michigan voters do not support either legislative plan. Regionally, the House plan leads the Senate plan only in West Michigan. 
  • Strong Republican voters are split with 21.1 percent supporting the House Plan, 20.3 percent supporting the Senate Plan, and 48.1 percent of strong Republican voters not supporting either legislative plan. 

Controlling growth in Detroit charter schools

Voters were read the following: 

As part of this debate, the Michigan Legislature is considering the creation of a Detroit Education Commission that would control how many new or charter schools could open in the city of Detroit.  Supporters argue the commission is needed to control the number of schools, stabilize enrollment, and stop the loss of students in Detroit Public Schools that contributes to the school system’s debt.  Opponents argue that the commission would decrease competition among schools and limit parental choice.  Would you say you support or oppose controlling the growth in charter schools in Detroit?

About 42 percent of respondents said they would support this while 37.8 percent said they oppose it. Another 19.5 percent said they didn't know either way. 

Related: Data show more students leaving public schools for charters

Survey methodology

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a 600-sample, live operator telephone survey of likely November 2016 Michigan general election voters.  The survey was conducted from May 24-26, 2016 and has margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence.  67% of respondents were interviewed by landline telephone.  33% of respondents were interviewed by cell phone telephone.  This survey was conducted on behalf of the Detroit News and WDIV Local 4. 

Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit will have more exclusive survey results including Michigan voters' view of Detroit, Flint, President Obama, and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. 

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.