Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
During General Motors Corporation’s Chapter 11 reorganization, most of the company’s desirable assets, intellectual property, and ongoing concerns were sold to a new, separate company known as NGMCO, Inc. (commonly called “New GM”). At the same time, most of the company’s liabilities, debts, and toxic assets were retained by the existing company, which changed its name to Motors Liquidation Company and continued in existence (commonly called “Old GM”).
For more than a year, Governor Snyder has drawn on this corporate-reorganization example to propose a possible solution for the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). Under Snyder’s plan, DPS would be split into two entities. An “Old DPS” would retain the existing debts and obligations of the school district, but a “New DPS” would take over the day-to-day business of educating Detroit’s school children.
Earlier this month, Snyder’s plan finally took form when State Senator Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) introduced Senate Bill 710. If enacted and signed into law by the Governor, Senate Bill 710 will split any first-class school district with a pupil count of less than 100,000 (currently only DPS meets this definition) into a “qualifying school district” and a “community district.” Here’s how it would work:
The qualifying school district (the “Old District”) would continue in existence for the sole purpose of levying taxes and paying down the district’s extant debt. The qualifying district would be dissolved upon satisfaction of the debt and outstanding obligations of the district.
The community district (the “New District”) would acquire all right, title, and interest in the district’s buildings, property, assets, software, licensing agreements, and equipment. The community district would take over all collective bargaining agreements with teachers and other employees, and would assume full responsibility for providing public education within the district’s geographic boundaries. Upon formation, an initial nine-member board would govern the community district. In the case of DPS, the Governor of Michigan would appoint five of the board members and the Mayor of Detroit would appoint the remaining four. The board would be charged with selecting a superintendent for the community district, but any candidate for the superintendent position would be subject to final approval by the state’s financial review commission for Detroit.
Senate Bill 710 would require the selection of a superintendent with “experience with education reform and redesign” and “expertise in the turnaround of academically underperforming urban schools.” Senate Bill 710 would also continue the policy of emphasizing student test scores as a measurement of success. Among other things, it would require a community district’s board to issue an annual report highlighting the results of state testing and standardized assessments.