Skubick: Burning midnight oil in Capitol while tempers smolder over Detroit school rescue


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After laboring for 15 hours Wednesday, House Republicans passed their version of the Detroit School rescue package but Democrats and labor will fight the package in the State Senate.

State Senator Arlan Meekhof was to the point. “We don’t do our best work at 4 in the morning.”

To which Senator Bert Johnson added “I’m not interested in anything the House has done. Because I think it’s lopsided.”

What the Republicans did here in the wee small hours of the morning is not exactly opening to raved reviews in the State Senate from both parties.

The Republican leader did not denounce the plan per say but he made it clear he favored what the senate did last march which included more money for Detroit.

It was evident that House Republicans were angry and wanted to send a message to teachers who didn’t show up for work earlier this week.

“They certainly didn’t help themselves,” said Sen. Meekhof. “This is partially, I think a reaction to that.” When asked if it was an over-reaction the senator replied “I don’t know if it would say that. There are some members who are unhappy about it.”

The House plan would:

(1) Teachers Reapply Jobs

(2) Can’t Negotiate Calendar

(3) Seniority Out-Merit Pay In

(4) Non-Teachers Can Teach

“Replacing them is a non-starter for us,” said Sen. Johnson. “And firing them on mass to accommodate some sort of whimsy, some sort of special interest whimsy is not in the best interest of students.”

When asked if they could reapply for jobs Senator Johnson said “that’s what privatization’s always about, right? But that doesn’t mean that we’re bringing the best people in.”

The House plan would also delay until January 2018 a new school board elected by Detroiters until then the state would continue to run the system

And this Republican argues, that’s exactly what his constituents want given all the illegal conduct and alleged mismanagement in the past.

Republican State Senator Mike Kowall says “Given the past behavior, it makes us a little slow on the draw to say, okay just go right ahead and go back and do what you were doing before.”

The Senate Republican leader is hoping tempers cool off before the Senate begins work on this next Tuesday. The outcome of which is anybody’s guess.

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