DALLAS — A bill providing nearly $50 million in state funding to keep Detroit Public Schools open until the end of the school year is headed to the state Senate after clearing the House Thursday.
The funds would help keep the district's doors open until June. House Bill 5296 now heads to Michigan's senate for approval.
"All students deserve every opportunity to learn and I'm thankful the Michigan House took vital action today to keep students and teachers in their classrooms in Detroit," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a press release. "The legislation approved today makes sure Detroit students have access to the education they deserve and teachers are paid for the remainder of the school year."
Snyder asked for $50 million in state aid, and the committee approved $48.7 million from Michigan's tobacco settlement fund. The funding will provide resources for the daily operational costs of running Detroit's schools.
Retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who was recently named DPS' transition manager by Snyder, testified on March 9th during a House committee hearing that the district would run out of money by April 8th unless lawmakers act. Rhodes said the district had no alternative plan and would have to shutter schools if the state aid did not come through.
DPS' operating deficits ballooned over the last four years to an projected $335 million at the end of 2016 from $83 million in 2012 an enrollment plummeted, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public affairs research organization.
The district began the current school year with legacy debts totaling almost $440 million. Adding to the district's more recent fiscal deficit challenges is its heavy reliance on short-term notes to help with cash flow throughout the fiscal year.