Snyder signs $48.7M in emergency aid for Detroit schools

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep the Detroit Public Schools open through the end of the school year on Tuesday, the same day that more than a dozen current and former district officials were charged with crimes stemming from a federal corruption investigation.

The state’s largest school district was in danger of starting to run out of money in April. Snyder said the spending legislation shows the district’s challenges “aren’t just Detroit’s problem, they are concerns for all of Michigan.”

The $48.7 million is a stopgap measure while the Republican governor presses the GOP-controlled Legislature to enact a $720 million restructuring plan to split the district in two and pay off operating debt over a decade.

The district’s problems continue, as the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit said the leaders facing charges include 12 current and former principals, an administrator and vendor.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof called the principals’ alleged actions “unacceptable.”

“This is further evidence of the need for reform and oversight of the schools in Detroit. … If proven true, adults are literally robbing children of an education. It is criminal and immoral,” he said.

Earlier this year, a former Detroit high school principal pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $60,000 from a company hired to perform tutoring services. She faces three years or more in prison, although cooperation with investigators could get her a shorter sentence.

Another woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy and admitted paying bribes to the principal in exchange for her company getting work.