We’ve discussed it to death here on the site, and I’m not sure how much new ground there is to cover, but our local Representative in the Michigan House, David Rutledge, warned members of the Ypsi School Board yesterday that, unless they found a way to balance their budget, and fast, the Governor was going to summarily dismiss them, and appoint one of his non-elected emergency financial managers (czar) in their place, to go about the business of selling school assets, breaking contracts with teachers, eliminating popular programs, and ratcheting up class size as much as humanly possibly. As we’ve discussed here before, there is no guarantee that financial managers assigned to take over Michigan school districts have even a rudimentary appreciation for K-12 education, let alone relevant degrees. And, to make matters worse, these people are rarely from the communities they’re inflicted upon. What’s more, from what I can tell, they’re generally African American, making the racism behind the fact that these are primarily minority schools being taken over, all the more difficult to prove and rally people around. It’s insidious, and, lest anyone think differently, it’s all about destroying the public schools that made our country great, and the teachers’ unions that they support. The Republicans will call it something great and democratic-sounding, like “school choice,” but it has nothing to do with helping kids – especially disadvantaged, inner city kids – to become better educated… But I’ll leave my ranting at that for the moment.
Here’s a clip from AnnArbor.com:
When speaking to the Ypsilanti school board Monday, state Rep. David Rutledge issued a warning to trustees and district leaders: Get the district on solid financial footing or face installation of an emergency manager by the state.
Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti) has two school districts in his district facing the possibility of having an emergency manager appointed by Michigan officials, as Willow Run Community Schools is another district on the list of 23 school districts that could face a state takeover.
Rutledge said Ypsilanti school leaders needed to come together and find a way to bring the district out of debt, or else someone else will do it for them.
“I just want, at this point, to emphasize to you as a policy making board … that this is at the point that it is beyond serious,” Rutledge said. “We’re at the point where unless in the short-term we can collectively find a way of impacting in a positive way, meaning to reduce the outstanding indebtedness, you will have in your presence a person that’s not identified yet that will be an emergency manager, managing the affairs of this district”…
Rutledge said he had met with superintendent Dedrick Martin for a considerable amount of time earlier Monday discussing the district’s issues.
The warning from Rutledge sparked a statement of defiance from trustee Andy Fanta.
Fanta asked board president David Bates to provide trustees with a list of all the school districts in the state who could have an emergency manager installed. He said it was time to fight back with legal action against the state.
“It’s time to play hardball and we have to communicate with each other,” Fanta said. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It goes to a fundamental principle as to who are all are as Americans, whether do we believe in the democratic process or whether we’re going to follow this model of a czar”…