CHICAGO — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder warned Wednesday that 23 school districts across the state, most clustered around the Detroit area, qualify for a state takeover under its new emergency financial management law.
Snyder told lawmakers that the 23 financially challenged districts face deficits of $1 million or more and together have a total operating deficit of $440 million. Of the 23, 18 are located in the greater Detroit region.
“The time has come to stop the benign acceptance of non-performance in these districts,” Snyder said in a special presentation to the Legislature outlining his proposals to overhaul the state’s educational system.
“Soon I will be applying the new emergency manager legislation for those districts that continue to fail financially and academically and take no steps to eliminate the drain on community financial resources and student academic achievement.”
Snyder also said he would soon appoint a new emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools. DPS has been under state-controlled emergency management since early 2009, and its controversial EFM, Robert Bobb, is expected to step down in June.
The new law gives Michigan broad new powers to intervene in and take over fiscally distressed local governments. It extends the power of school district managers to cover both financial and academic control.
The targeted districts include Pontiac and Avondale in Oakland County, two in Detroit’s Wayne County, and one in Macomb County,
Snyder’s education proposals come as the Michigan Legislature continues to debate his fiscal 2012 spending plan, which features cuts to K-12 funding.
The Republican also proposed creating more charter schools by removing any district-wide caps on their number, and proposed that state school aid be tied to a district’s academic achievement starting in 2013.
Some of Snyder’s reforms echo those he has proposed for local governments, including cash rewards and requiring districts to post online financial and academic results.