Legislation would require state to assume debt payments

LANSING — State Senator David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) and State Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced House Bill 5708 and Senate Bill 1006 today, which would amend the State School Aid Act of 1979 to eliminate the remaining debt held by the dissolved Inkster Public Schools. The appropriation of almost $37 million would come from the state’s General Fund budget and not burden other students around the state.

This legislation addresses the concern that the city of Inkster and its residents are currently paying down debt for a school district that no longer exists. In 2013, the state made the decision to dissolve the school district, including transferring ownership of its buildings, which placed a significant financial burden on the community.

“The four school districts surrounding Inkster have welcomed their students with open arms, but the dissolved Inkster Public Schools still has a substantial debt, which places an onerous burden on the city and its residents,” said Plawecki. “This is similar to the situation that Detroit Public Schools are facing, as they are dealing with a debt due to several decisions, many of which were made by the state. And just as the state is helping DPS with its debt obligations, we believe the same should happen with the community of Inkster.”

“Three years ago, the state of Michigan made the decision to dissolve Inkster Public Schools against the will of the people,” said Knezek. “While local residents, most notably the students, have remained resilient throughout this difficult process, it is past time for the state to step up and remove the burden of debt from the residents of Inkster. There has been enough suffering as a result of decisions made by the state. It’s time to allow Inkster to move forward without being forced to pay for a school district that no longer exists.”

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