LANSING, Mich. — Senator Vincent Gregory (D–Lathrup Village) released the following statement regarding the passage of legislation yesterday to keep Detroit Public Schools up and running:

“While it is not a perfect plan, the reform will provide students with long-awaited access to quality education. I share in the concerns of some of my colleagues — that action must be taken toward academic reform and that we still have a lot of work to do. Although this is a good start, we need to keep doing what’s right for the students and teachers in Detroit and make sure this never happens again.”

The $720 million restructuring plan is designed to create a safe and stable learning environment where students can succeed, and in which no teachers will lose their jobs. It will return the DPS system to a locally elected school board and create a comprehensive accountability system, with local oversight, that will hold both public and charter schools to higher standards.

From a financial standpoint, the plan will divide Detroit’s financially and academically ailing district in half — with $520 million put toward paying off existing debt and $200 million used for building upgrades and transitional costs. At the same time, it will hold the School Aid Fund harmless, which means that other school districts statewide will not suffer as a result. In addition, this legislation will ensure that $1,300 per pupil will go back into the classroom and not into debt collectors’ pockets.

An Education Commission, composed of seven members, five of whom will be local, will represent public and charter school interests at three members each, with one member serving as an independent expert. The commission will also evaluate each community to make sure there are enough schools to serve the local communities and provide ongoing transportation reports. This information will help the district improve transportation, and give parents and guardians a real opportunity and access to the school of choice for their child’s education.

###