LANSING, Mich. — Members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses issued the following statement about the Senate Republicans’ decision to introduce a package of bills about Detroit Public Schools:

“We regret that, at this point, we cannot support these bills as introduced. After many hours of negotiations, this legislation is still inadequate and the necessity for substantial change still exists.

“Every child in Detroit deserves access to the same quality of education that we demand for children across our state. To achieve this, we believe certain principles must be followed. Among them are a locally elected school board that maintains the same authority as every other school district in the state; not a board saddled with long-term contracts that it did not negotiate, or stuck with a superintendent who isn’t producing results for students and taxpayers. Our schools and teachers must also be given an adequate amount of time to institute reforms that will ensure success.

“No less important, we believe in the urgent need for a single, easily understandable, and objective performance standard for all Detroit Public Schools – both district and charter. We believe that adding rhyme and reason to school openings must be an integral part of any plan. As we have heard time and time again from parents and teachers, state-based accountability — like state control of the district — has failed. If there is no empowerment at the local level related to this vital work, we will find ourselves back where we are today: a district with poor academic achievement and a charter sector that performs no better.

“Finally, we believe there must be coordination of how taxpayer dollars are used so that we aren’t creating a situation in which the best students are siphoned off while the district spirals into decline. Funding options beyond the School Aid Fund must be explored so that we can ensure the burden of solving this debt crisis does not fall on the backs of students from across the state.

“All the foregoing key principles, among others, must be reflected in any legislation before the members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses lend their support.

“We look forward to working with Senate Republicans and all other stakeholders, particularly those in Detroit —  including the Mayor, local district and charter school leaders, the American Federation of Teachers, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, and the State Board of Education — to ensure that the future of education in the City of Detroit is strong. The students, parents and educators deserve nothing less.”

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