Detroit Schools Is In A Spot Of Bother

May Not Be Able To Meet Payroll After June

According to press reports, Detroit Public Schools will be hard pressed to find money to keep public schools opened as at the end of June.

Steven Rhodes, a former federal bankruptcy judge, told reporters that the $48.7 million in supplemental funding approved by the Michigan legislature last month would allow paychecks for all employees only through the end of June.

Photo Credit: A Generous German - The famous Fisher Building in Detroit.
Photo Credit: A Generous German – The famous Fisher Building in Detroit.

He urged state lawmakers to approve a $715 million rescue plan that would create a new Detroit Education Commission, with broad authority to control new school openings for the next five years.

Without passage of the reform package, “there will be no funds available to pay any of our employees—those teachers on a 26-pay cycle included,” Rhodes, who began running the district in March, said in an email to the Detroit News.

“There also will be no funds available for the District to conduct Summer School or provide the year-round special education services that a number of our students rely on.”

Rhodes’s statement was first reported by the Detroit News. It said word of Rhodes’s warning had come from Ivy Bailey, interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Rhodes had told her earlier in the day about the inability to meet payroll after June.

Bailey told union members in an email that she was “outraged” about the news, the newspaper said.

The Detroit public school system is the largest in Michigan, with 45,786 students and has been under state control since 2009.

Rhodes said this month that nearly $64 million in debt payments were sinking the school district, underscoring the need for a long-term solution by state lawmakers.

Carol May, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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