Detroit’s Educational Catastrophe

By Beth Hawkins

May 10, 2016

Excerpt: “Detroit Public Schools are so far in the red it might not be able to pay teachers through the end of the school year, and two bills are moving through the Michigan legislature aimed at preventing a financial catastrophe. … No one knows whether it will work—there hasn’t ever been anything like it.  But then again, the country has probably never witnessed an education crisis quite like Detroit’s. …

Some 20 states have laws allowing the governor to appoint an emergency manager to take over a financially troubled unit of local government. The managers are supposed to restore the entity in question to solvency and then relinquish control. In Detroit Public Schools, however, each successive emergency manager simply has been replaced with another. From January 2015 to February of this year the district was overseen by the former Flint emergency manager who was behind the decision that resulted in lead poisoning in that city’s water supply. …

And the cost-cutting has not resulted in fiscal stability. In the six years since DPS was placed under state control, the system has accrued hundreds of millions of dollars in new debt; long-term debt surpassed $2 billion several years ago. Representatives of DPS declined to comment for this story.”