- Detroit Public Schools (DPS) may be bankrupt as soon as this April, Superintendent Brian Whiston warns, if immediate action is not taken.
- According to Whiston, the debt incurred by the district will become the state's responsibility, including approximately $100 million dollars worth of legal fees in addition to a total of around $1.5 billion.
- Michigan Senate Bills 710 and 711, introduced last week, aim to support Gov. Rick Snyder's plan for creating two new districts, one responsible for debt and another "new district," the Detroit Community School District, which would oversee education — but the plan has been criticized by other lawmakers and the state superintendent of schools, who say the effort doesn't do enough.
The announcement comes at a challenging time for the embattled district, which may or may not be redrawn according to Gov. Snyder's controversial plan. Just last week, responding to mass protests and teacher "sickouts" that closed dozens of schools, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan visited a few DPS buildings and subsequently called for a district-wide investigation of 97 different buildings.
The protests have been caused, in part, by Snyder's reform proposal. DPS has also been under emergency state management for the last eight years, under the Snyder-created Education Achievement Authority district, and his wider $715 million reform package is likely to be delayed because federal authorities are currently investigating alleged vendor kickbacks in the EAA. The EAA is now considered a failure by many, since it did not turn around Detroit's worst-performing schools.
Beyond Detroit, 47 of Michigan's 206 school districts had their credit ratings downgraded by Moody's in 2015, meaning that schools will face higher fees when borrowing money. Even more downgrades are expected this year.