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Lansing lawmakers propose new $617 million deal for Detroit schools

Lawmakers try compromise deal

DETROIT – Republicans in Lansing are working on a compromise between Senate and House versions of a Detroit Public School debt rescue package.

The new plan includes $617 million with a $150 million loan to DPS. Sources are telling Local 4 that they expect a vote by day's end, and the package will be based on the House version (see below).

View: Details of the proposed deal

It does not include a Detroit Education Commission. It's unlikely there will be any controls over Charter school expansion, and return of control to a school board will likely be delayed until 2018. 

The plan also would schedule board elections for November of this year. The board also would be allowed, but not required, to use non-certified teachers to fill its hundreds of vacancies.

Few if any Democrats are expected to support that kind of compromise 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.

Survey: Senate's DPS plan has more support

Video: New DPS Superintendent Meriweather meets with Carmen Harlan to talk goals 

Detroit Public Schools announces academic advisory council

A team of about 120 Detroit Public Schools teachers, principals and administrators are working on a long-term plan to improve learning for students in the financially struggling district.

The Academic Advisory Council was announced Wednesday by interim schools Superintendent Alycia Meriweather. Meriweather says the plan will span eight to 10 years.

The 97-school district has about 46,000 students. Students rank among the worst in the state on standardized tests, but scores are improving. Graduation rates also are up over the past decade.

Academic Advisory Council committees are looking into topics that include school expansions and closures, attendance and behavior policies, and curriculum and instruction. Successful models in use elsewhere could be implemented in Detroit.

The state Legislature is considering plans to pay off the district's estimated $467 million debt load.

Advocates spar on charter rules in Detroit schools overhaul

Advocates at a major policy meeting are sparring over new oversight of Detroit charter schools as part of a multi-million state bailout of the city's ailing K-12 district.

The proposed Detroit Education Commission, which would oversee the opening and closing of schools, dominated an opening debate at the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual conference on Mackinac Island Wednesday. The panel is a major sticking point as Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers consider addressing the district's enormous debt.

Republican businessman John Rakolta says he has "divorced" himself from a leadership role in the GOP because of its unflinching support for publicly funded charters — some of which are performing poorly.

But Dan Quisenberry of the Michigan Association of Public Schools Academies opposes more governance, saying Detroit schools and "city politics" shouldn't mix.

Stay with Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit.com for updates to this developing story.