Flashpoint: Gov. Snyder talks DPS plan, poverty in Detroit

The unveiling ceremony included a performance by the Martin Luther King High School marching band, just back from its appearance at the London Olympics.
The unveiling ceremony included a performance by the Martin Luther King High School marching band, just back from its appearance at the London Olympics.

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder joined Flashpoint Sunday morning to talk about some of the issues in metro Detroit, including his plan to help fix Detroit Public Schools. Devin Scillian asked Snyder about his plan and why he thinks it can help DPS get back on track.

"It's time for a solution in Detroit because we need better outcomes for the students, is the top priority," Snyder said.

He said there are some great schools in Detroit but that the results aren't matching what the children need. He said that the financial issues are also hindering the schools and talked about how his plan would help finance improvement.

Snyder said that regardless of where you live in Michigan, it's important that Detroit has a strong school system and has enough money to function. He talked about how his plan frees up around $1,100 per student to put back into the classroom.

"There's no cut that would be required," Snyder said. "What will happen is, we'll still make increases for people allowances through the budget, but then we'll set aside some dollars that theoretically could have gone to the other school districts of about $50 per student."

He said this is a much better arrangement than having a default in DPS because much of that is guaranteed by the state.

Snyder also talked about the FBI investigation of the EAA and the highly troubled schools that have shown poor performance. He said the reason there's an investigation is that the EAA was proactive and asked the FBI to investigate some issues it was concerned about.

This investigation is being handled separately than the big package, according to Snyder.

You can hear all of Snyder's comments about DPS in the video posted above.

After the break, Snyder addressed the Flint water crisis that has people furious with him and his administration.

"What I do know is that the EPA communicated some concerns," Snyder said.

There was a mistake made in the Department of Environmental Quality, according to Snyder. He said there are personnel changes happening as a result of people not understanding how to handle the situation.

Snyder said he's called for an after action investigation report to see what mistakes were made and how they can learn from how high levels of lead got into the water.

Snyder said there was a mistake in which protocol to follow and the incident didn't have anything to do with which city was experiencing the crisis.

"There are things that could have been done better and differently and that's what we're going to go through and that's why we're doing a thorough investigation," Snyder said. He said people are using filters now and going through testing to make sure the water is safe.

Snyder also talked about the ongoing process of reaching a deal to fix Michigan's roads. He said he thought there was a good solution, but political situations came up and there wasn't agreement.

"I'm going to continue pushing to get road funding," Snyder said. He said everyone is responsible for not getting a deal done and wouldn't point a finger at any specific side of the arguments.

Click on the video below to watch the conversation about the water crisis and roads plan.



In the final segment, Devin asked Snyder about poverty in Detroit, which has 39 percent of its population living in poverty.

Snyder said it's important to make everyone feel involved in the turnaround of Detroit, which starts with issues like the school system, construction projects and additional work opportunities.

"I want people to have the opportunity to live, work in Detroit and raise a family and have a great education with their kids," Snyder said. "So this is where we're looking at a lot of opportunities like that."

Snyder talked about how the state helps impoverished cities within Michigan. He said that when he took over, the state was the 49th worst state in terms of unemployment and now it's up to 24th.

Devin asked Snyder about the Ambassador Bridge, which has had concrete falling off of it. He said he's more concerned about the Gordie Howe Bridge but that it's not a bad thing to have more crossings with Canada.

Snyder also talked about the latest happenings in gun control and what he thinks about the situation.

You can watch the full third segment in the video posted below.