Michigan Senate approves long-term Detroit schools bailout

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2016 3:34 PM

(Reuters) - The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved a long-term $715 million bailout package for the cash-strapped Detroit Public Schools but did not take up separate short-term emergency funding for the district, which faces a possible shutdown in April.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter said the bailout plan could not be taken up by the lower house before the legislature goes on break on March 25, and urged senators to quickly vote on an emergency spending measure passed by representatives earlier this month.

The House approved a $48.7 million emergency funding measure aiming to keep the school district, known as DPS, from shutting down in April. But the Senate has not yet debated that measure.

"Because of the five-day rule written into the state Constitution, the House cannot take up the Senate's long-term DPS plan this week. The Senate can, however, still address the House plan for short-term funding and oversight that we passed last week. That issue has not yet been solved," House Speaker Kevin Cotter, a Republican, said in a statement.

Steven Rhodes, a former federal bankruptcy judge appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to run the district, has warned that DPS will not have money after April 8 to pay teachers and staff, which would force him to close schools.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)