Michigan Considers Legislation to Avert Detroit School Shutdown

  • House committee passes bill to provide $48.7 million
  • Legislation would avoid April 8 shutdown of the city's schools

Michigan’s House of Representatives may take up legislation as soon as Wednesday to provide $48.7 million for Detroit’s public schools to keep them from shutting down as soon as April 8, said Al Pscholka, chairman of the House appropriations committee.

The funds are needed so the district, which will run out of money in early April, can complete the school year. The system has reached its statutory borrowing limit and won’t be able to take on more debt to keep schools open and pay teachers.

State lawmakers are considering six bills for the district, which is being run by a state-appointed emergency manager after years of losing students as residents moved out of Detroit. The funding bill the appropriations committee passed early Wednesday morning will be taken up by the House sometime over the next two days, Pscholka, a Republican from Lincoln Township, said in an interview.

“This supplemental appropriation gives us a little bit of breathing room to keep from putting kids out on the street if the full package isn’t passed by April 8,” said Pscholka.

Standard & Poor’s on March 10 said state aid that’s used to back debt payments could be jeopardized if the district is forced to end the school year early for lack of funds.

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