Detroit residents hope that a large infusion of cash from the state will begin to turn around its schools. The crisis came to the nation’s attention earlier this year with reports of rats and cockroaches scurrying about in the moldy hallways of dilapidated school buildings.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a $617 million bailout and restructuring plan on Tuesday, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Snyder believes the bailout and implementation of the new strategy will inject new life into the debt-ridden school district, which has been operated by state-appointed emergency managers for several years.
“This marks a new day for Detroit families, with DPS free from debt and strong accountability measures for all schools in the city that promises a brighter future for all of Detroit’s children,” the governor said in a written statement, according to the Associated Press.
A controversial part of the governor’s plan is to split the Detroit Public Schools district into two separate units.
Democratic State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo told the Associated Press that Snyder “missed an opportunity to right history with his signing of the separate and unequal” legislation. She is calling for a legal challenge to the measure, which passed without support from Democrats or legislators who represent Detroit.
The current emergency manager, Steven Rhodes, told the news agency that the new money budgeted for school building repairs and maintenance is not enough.
Other critics include Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who has no authority over the schools in his city, as well as local community and business leaders. Many of them wanted a mayoral commission to oversee the opening of new schools, according to the Associated Press.
WXYZ-TV reported that the school district plans to hold a public meeting. Rhodes, the interim superintendent, and several state lawmakers will talk about the next fiscal year’s school budget and the new district, as well as academics.