See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New report on Detroit schools highlights long-term issues

Posted By on Sun, Apr 5, 2015 at 9:30 PM

click to enlarge WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia

Detroit Public Schools maintains a heavy debt load that, left unaddressed, will only exacerbate long-standing problems in the district, writes Curt Guyette, investigative reporter for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. A coalition's report on recommendations to fix the district's issues offered a number of proposals that generated a significant response: remove the appointed emergency manager for the district, which DPS has had four in six years; create a new entity (the Detroit Education Commission) to oversee operational aspects of the district like the opening and closing schools; and have the state assume DPS debt.

On the latter, Guyette writes, "Regardless of where people stand on that debate, the coalition made clear in its report that if DPS is going to be able to compete on an equal footing with the 97 charter schools operating within the city, dealing with the district's crushing debt burden is crucial." More from Guyette:



The DPS debt issue is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to deal with. But it has to be dealt with,” Richard DeVore, a regional president for PNC Bank, said in the report.

The district actually has two primary types of debt.

The first is capital debt — bonds issued to fund school construction and building upgrades; that obligation is repaid through a property millage that costs residents and business owners about $174 million a year, according to the report. Local taxpayers will continue to foot that bill.

The other is debt incurred to cover accumulated operating deficits. In order to make up for annual shortfalls, emergency managers have repeatedly borrowed in an attempt to keep the district financially solvent.

“The state of Michigan should take responsibility for past operating debt that occurred on its watch: $53 million a year,” stated the report.

Debt is such a burden in DPS that, the coaliton's report states, the district spends 13 percent of its operating funds to pay interest on debt — while other districts use only 2-3 percent.

Check out Guyette's entire report here.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 18, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation