A press release I received today said that State Representatives Sherry Gay-Dagnogo and Brian Banks, both of Detroit, voiced their support for certain portions of supplemental House Bill 5296, which originally passed the House last week, then returned after the Senate made their changes to the bill. The intent of the bill, which is fine, is to provide bridge funding to Detroit Public Schools so that DPS can postpone going broke until the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature can figure out the best way they can rescue DPS without rescuing it too much.
Because dey knows dem folk down there cain’t handle too much of dat dere freedom.
Understand that one of the biggest sticking points for those in the House will be the Senate language that pushes for ceding control of DPS and giving it back to Detroiters ASAP. Even Judge Steven Rhodes, who is currently serving as DPS Emergency Manager #5 (even though that is not the actual title, as if changing the name changes anything), has come out publicly in favor of returning control of DPS to the people of Detroit and to allow the return of an elected school board by fall of this year.
According to the press release, the $48.7 million appropriation is set to come from tobacco settlement money, but stipulates that in order for the money to be expended, a financial review commission would need to be in place for DPS. In the Senate, language to an accompanying bill, House Bill 5385, was changed to allow this oversight to be conducted by either the FRC (financial review commission), or the emergency manager. HB 5385 expands the current FRC, which oversaw the bankruptcy process for the city of Detroit, to include oversight of DPS as well.
“I cannot support another layer of bureaucracy with a FRC (financial review commission),” Rep. Banks, chairman of the Detroit Caucus, is quoted as saying in the release. “But once again, we’re looking at a situation where state government has said ‘We know what is better for you than you do,’ to the key stakeholders in DPS. This kind of thinking has failed us repeatedly, and in order to move forward it has to change. I look forward to being a continued part of these discussions, and to working with my colleagues to make sure that all voices — including the voices of those whom this legislation directly affects — are heard.”
In other words, certain state legislators in Lansing continue to think that DPS is a plantation, where massa boss knows what’s best, even though massa boss been screwing it up for more than a decade now. Which would explain why the plantation is still in such turmoil. I’m thinking it’s emancipation time right about now.