This Week & Next (June 3, 2016)

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House Passes DPS Reform Bills
Last night the Michigan House of Representatives passed a $617 million package of bills to address the financial and academic crisis in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). The primary policy bill in the package is HB 5384, sponsored by Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland), which passed on a 55-53 vote. Nearly all “YES” votes came from Republicans with nearly unanimous opposition from Democrats. Other bills in the package include HB 5383, 5386 and SB 711, 820 & 822. Here are the key features in the House-passed bills:

  • Retire DPS and provide $467 million to pay off the district’s operational debt (which is $515 million but $48 million was previously allocated to the district by the legislature).
  • Provide $150 million to the “new” Detroit Community Schools district (DPS 2.0) to be used to cover cash flow and building maintenance until the district begins receiving school aid funds in October.
  • Use $72 million per year in Tobacco Settlement funds to fill the hole in the School Aid Fund from using 18-mill non-homestead property tax revenue to repay DPS debt.
  • Return the new district to locally elected leadership after the November 2016 election.
  • Eliminate the Education Achievement Authority.
  • Create a Citizens Advisory Board of DPS and Charter members, tasked with producing a detailed annual report on educational needs in the city, including transportation.
  • Implement an A-F accountability system and allow the State Reform Office to intervene in failing schools, including closure of chronically-failing DPS and charter public schools.
  • Provide SRO flexibility to allow for “Restart” model for DPS schools or “Reconstitution” of charter public schools in place of closure, which requires significant interventions.
  • Require national accreditation for charter authorizers who opens schools in the city.
  • Ensure current DPS employees will retain their positions in the new district.
  • Allow the district to employ non-certified teachers to fill vacancies.
  • Develop a system of performance pay to reward excellent teachers.
  • Increase penalties for teachers engaging in illegal “sick out” strikes.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant), and key negotiators Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) and Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland), since their primary focus remained putting students first and making sure that innovation and educational opportunities would be available to Detroit students well in the future.

DPS Reform News Clips

Next Week

Monday, June 6

  • “Top 10 in 10” Stakeholder Meeting at MDE

Tuesday, June 7

  • #MichEd Lobby Day in Lansing
  • Senate Education Committee

Wednesday, June 8

  • Student Statesmanship Institute, Week #1 at the Capitol Building

Thursday, June 9

  • House Education Committee

Friday, June 10

  • ESSA External Advisory Committee Meeting at MDE

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director