While business leaders and policymakers convene to discuss the many issues faced by the state at the Mackinac Policy Conference held by the Detroit Regional Chamber, state representatives in the Michigan House are still in Lansing to work on a funding and reform deal for Detroit Public Schools.
Michigan is grappling with a series of crises that have been ongoing for years. That includes the contamination of Flint’s drinking water and the looming financial collapse of the state’s largest school district in Detroit; DPS. The House would like to send less cash to DPS than the state Senate has proposed. The Senate has also proposed some structural changes that would hold failing schools, including charters, more accountable.
“Unfortunately we don’t have an agreement [on how to help DPS] with everybody,” says state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof [R-West Olive]. Meekhof says the structural changes for DPS are needed just as much as the cash, ”in order to stabilize the district, so it’s important. And if not that [plan], then what is it?… I don’t know why we would do it if there is no value.”
State Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich [D-Flint] agrees. Ananich worked with Meekhof on the proposal put forward by the Senate.
“I’m hopeful something like what we passed gets across the finish-line, but we’ll see,” says Ananich.
To hear more of the senators’ conversation with host Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today, click on the audio player.