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Muskegon Heights schools still financially insolvent despite Emergency Manager’s outsourcing to for-profit charter

Wait, Emergency Managers were supposed to solve these problems weren’t they???

In what can only be seen as an embarrassing repudiation of the Republican idea that Emergency Managers are capable of “fixing” financially-struggling schools, the Muskegon Heights schools system has had to borrow nearly a quarter million dollars from the state in order to make payroll. This was after Emergency Manager Gregory Weatherspoon turned the school system entirely over to Mosaica Education, Inc., a for-profit charter school corporation — or as Mosaica likes to call itself, a for-profit education management organization — a year and half ago.

The state is fronting $231,000 to the charter school district in Muskegon Heights so it can pay its employees.…
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Detroit Public Schools: A case study in the failure of the Emergency Manager system

Lansing, we have a problem

The amped-up Emergency Manager laws passed by Michigan Republicans in 2011 and again in 2012 were specifically designed to give far more sweeping powers to the one unelected potentate who assumes control of the school district or municipality. The sweeping away of local elected officials and the snuffing out of local democracy was needed, said the proponents, because the elected leaders were simply incapable of doing the job properly themselves. In fact, the unspoken implication is the local communities deserved to lose their democracy since they voted for such inept leaders in the first place.

The bedrock presumption in all of this is that the state is completely capable of stepping in and handling the affairs of the local municipality or of the school district.…

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The data is clear: Emergency Management not working in Detroit Public Schools

The EAA isn’t the only experiment being conducted on Detroit children

In all of the sturm und drang over Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s Educational Achievement Authority experiment with Detroit children, it’s easy to forget about the other experiment they are part of: state control of the Detroit Public Schools by an Emergency Manager. I’ve written reams on this topic but not much recently given that the EAA has sucked so much oxygen out of the room.

However, I haven’t forgotten about this and neither has my friend Dr. Thomas Pedroni, Director of the Leonard Kaplan Education Center for Critical Urban Studies and Associate Professor for Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University.…

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Republicans Denby and Rogers still trying to keep their white communities away from an Emergency Manager

A year and a half ago, I wrote a rather lengthy piece titled “Majority white communities avoid Emergency Financial managers with help from Republicans Denby and Rogers”. In it, I told the rather convoluted story of how now-State Representatives Cindy Denby and Bill Rogers had, during their time as local government officials, gotten their municipalities and county into severe debt when the housing market crashed. Bad decisions by them resulted in Handy Township where Denby was the Supervisor and Livingston County where Rogers was a Commissioner facing severe financial crises over special assessment districts that were created, paid for, and which then fell apart as developers abandoned the projects.…

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BREAKING: Federal court allows legal challenge to constitutionality of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law to proceed

Another win for the good guys…

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan today granted a motion to reopen the lawsuit filed by the Sugar Law Center and others against Michigan officials challenging the constitutionality of Public Act 436, Michigan’s undemocratic Emergency Manager Law. From their press release:

The Court’s order follows three orders from the United States Bankruptcy Court that also said the lawsuit against the Emergency Manager Law could go forward. Gov. Rick Snyder had sought to extend the bankruptcy stay of lawsuits against the City of Detroit to include all suits challenging Michigan’s Emergency Manager Laws.…
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Gov. Snyder breaks his own record. Now TWENTY schools & cities are in financial crisis in his “Turnaround state”.

Time to update my chart…

Back in December, I took a look at how many cities and schools were in financial crisis under Governor Rick Snyder compared with his predecessors. The results were pretty shocking:

When you look at the situation under Governor Snyder compared with his predecessors, the data is striking. Including all cities and schools that have either had a consent agreement, an emergency manager, or that are being considered for an emergency manager, Governor Snyder is far and away the leader.

Under John Engler, there were 3 cities (Flint, Hamtramck, and Highland Park).

Under Jennifer Granholm there were 5 cities (Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Highland Park, Pontiac, and Three Oaks Village) and one school district (Detroit Public Schools).

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Judge Steven Rhodes: Legal challenge to Michigan’s Emergency Manager law can continue but Detroit EM Kevyn Orr is safe

Let’s find out if it is, indeed, a legal law

Federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes determined today that a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law – Public Act 436 – can move forward. The case is being handled in another federal court.

In his ruling (pdf) denying a request to stay the case, Judge Rhodes said:

The State essentially argues that even though the plaintiffs in this suit have removed any request for the removal of Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager, a successful challenge to P.A. 436 will inevitably lead to that result. However, the Court must conclude that such is not the case.…
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More Michigan cities and schools in financial crises under Rick Snyder than all other governors combined

Governor Snyder: it’s not working

Three new municipalities are now under consideration for an Emergency Manager: Lincoln Park, Royal Oak Township, and Highland Park. If Highland Park goes, it will be its second time around and it will be the third city to come out of financial crisis under an Emergency Manager only to go back under an Emergency Manager once again (along with Flint and Hamtramck.)

When you look at the situation under Governor Snyder compared with his predecessors, the data is striking. Including all cities and schools that have either had a consent agreement, an emergency manager, or that are being considered for an emergency manager, Governor Snyder is far and away the leader.…

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“A half billion dollars or the art gets it” – The looting of Detroit and why bankruptcy may be the best course

A rock on one side and a hard place on the other

Last year, the Detroit Institute of Arts had over a half million visitors. The museum is a huge tourist draw and an anchor for the area of Detroit that surrounds it. The cost to the city of Detroit for this priceless collection of art is exactly zero dollars. It is run by a non-profit and receives funding, in part, from a tri-county millage designed to ensure that it will forever be there as a cultural hub for southeast Michigan.

For Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, it’s a plum too juicy not to pick.…

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Update on Hamtramck’s urban farm Hamtown Farms and how YOU can help them purchase the land they’re on

#SaveMI, #SaveHamtownFarms

Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

Late last month, I wrote about the amazing Hamtown Farms urban farm in Hamtramck, Michigan. The farm sits on city land that had been vacant for decades. Now that the city is legally able to begin selling off their empty lots, Cathy Square, the Emergency Manager in Hamtramck has swept aside previous agreements signed by the city with regard to preserving the farm and it putting the land up for auction. This is the only “fair” way to do it, Square told me, despite the fact that the volunteers that run Hamtown Farms have put tens of thousands of dollars of improvements into city lots they occupy.…

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