The Detroit City Council last week rejected a proposal to ask voters whether the mayor should take control of the troubled Detroit Public School system.
It was the third time the council had considered the proposal but the first time it had voted on it.
The measure was defeated 6 to 3 last Thursday amid cheers from the audience.
The council then adjourned for recess until Sept. 7. The council would have to approve the measure by Aug. 24 to get it on the ballot.
Supported by a league of political heavyweights, the measure would have asked voters to decide whether the mayor or the current 11-member school board should oversee the system.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the district’s emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, all support the effort.
Proponents may next pin their hopes on the state Legislature, which has the authority to hand control of the system to the mayor.
“I am deeply disappointed that the voters of Detroit were denied the right to take part in moving their schools forward,” Granholm said in a statement. “I am prepared to work with community leaders and others to bring change for better schools.”