Hundreds protest school dissolution bill

The bill is aimed at Buena Vista schools and the Inkster school district.

Lawmakers and dozens of educators rallied at the state capitol in Lansing on Wednesday. Theyâ??re protesting a bill that could dissolve the Buena Vista school district.

The legislation has already passed the Michigan House of Representatives and it could dissolve the Buena Vista school district as early as this summer. Those gathered at the capitol say there has to be another option.

Protestors blasted Governor Rick Snyder, speaking out on legislation that dissolves cash-strapped school districts on Wednesday.

â??We need to have this stopped,â?? says protestor Ruth Williams. â??That's why we're here today,â?? she adds.

The bill gives the state superintendent and state treasurer the final call in dissolving districts that do not have a substantial deficit elimination plan. The bill passed the house last week. It targets the Buena Vista and Inkster school districts.

â??The bill started out with 55 schools and ended up with two being named, that's not fair,â?? says Williams, a member of the Inkster school board.

Itâ??s easy to say, just dissolve the district but should they go to the other districts where deficits are looming? Does the debt travel with them? This bill doesn't address those issues,â?? says Representative Stacy Erwin-Oakes (D-Saginaw). â??It doesn't put the children first,â?? she adds.

Representative Erwin-Oakes has introduced alternate legislation that gives local intermediate school districts control over struggling districts.

State board of education members agree, the legislation is being rushed.

â??It shouldn't just be two people in the state determining dissolution of a school district,â?? says Casandra Ulbirch, vice president of the state board of education. â??There has to be more to it,â?? she adds.

The state superintendent's office says they're not commenting on pending legislation. Senator Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) also declined comment Wednesday.

â??Dissolve the schools and the rest of the city is going to crumble,â?? says Jean Fuller, president of the Inkster school board.

â??Buena Vista is in a unique situation right now and our hearts certainly go out to community but in the long run, I think that they are the first domino to fall,â?? says Ulbrich.

The bill is now headed for the state senate and they're expected to vote along party lines.