It could not have come at a worse time.
After months of wrangling a plan to write a $715 million dollar check to bailout Detroit Public Schools, the plan squeaked through the Michigan Senate. It was already getting a rough reception in the State House and then U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade dropped the bomb. Federal charges against more than a dozen DPS principals and one administrator for being on the take. An already tough sell in Lansing just became virtually impossible.
“I think the senate plan, to be kind, is a nonstarter in the House,” State Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis) told Local 4. Miller voted against the nearly $50 million in funds to keep the district afloat as a stopgap measure not because he doesn’t care about the schoolchildren, but because he doesn’t see any controls in place to insure the money is being spent appropriately. The same goes for the current plan to write that $715 million dollar check.
Miller is not alone. Republicans in the State House have made it clear no one is writing a check of that size without major financial controls in place.
Detroit legislators who have been working hard to get the funds needed to bail out the district are well aware these federal charges just threw up road blocks for a deal.
“Looking at the series of current events it makes it a more difficult pull and ask to get something done for DPS,” according to State Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods). Banks says despite the charges there have been ongoing behind the scenes meetings while the legislature is on break to try and hammer out a bailout that can actually get the votes in the house.
“This is difficult,” according to State Rep. Sherry Gay Dagnogo (D-Detroit). “It’s difficult for members on both sides of the aisle, for members who don’t have a vested interest in Detroit or the lens to understand what is going in Detroit”