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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

DPS in denial

  It won't take long for the critics of the Detroit School Board to argue if the board used as much energy to reform the district as it is using to fight the state, Detroit school kids would much better off.
  State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan has decided the local board is not capable of solving it's own financial mess so he'll send in somebody else to do the messy job.
   Instead of welcoming the financial manager, the board is threatening to haul Flanagan into court to block his move.
    Last week Flanagan staged a public hearing giving the board a chance to make its case for opposing state intervention but now the board is complaining it only had two days to prepare.
    The board is also griping that the deficit reduction consent agreement it signed with the state was signed "under duress."
     Oh the boo-birds will have a field day with that as it appears these trivial objections will merely delay the reform process.
     One can understand why some in Detroit are nervous about the state usurping local powers.  When former Gov. John Engler did it in 1999, he and the GOP legislature abolished the duly elected local board and installed a new one. The experiment was a flop.
     Now comes Flanagan and the governor stepping in again.  They explain this is not another "takeover."  The local board will remain intact, they argue, but their opponents counter if you take away control of the purse strings that is a defacto takeover.
      The board will be left to decide what's on the menu at lunchtime.
      Flanagan did not want to take this step, but the board gave him no choice he contends.  He gave them several chances to get it done, but he had no confidence they could do it.
      And the manner in which they are now acting out, like a second grader sent to time out, the board seems to be validating Flanagan's opinion.


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