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Snyder puts the brakes on closing struggling schools

portrait: Governor Rick Snyder
Courtesy photo
Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state will wait until May at the earliest to decide whether to close any of the state’s lowest-performing schools.

Decisions on which schools would be closed were expected in the next couple of weeks, but in a statement released by his office, Snyder said more work and more time is needed. The governor says the state Department of Education and the School Reform Office will work together to develop a strategy.

“The entire team at the School Reform Office has worked diligently to analyze data, visit schools and review potential options, but we need to do more before any final decisions can be made,” Snyder says. “Any action we take will have long-lasting consequences and we need to take the time to get this right. That’s why I want our SRO team to work closely with State Superintendent Brian Whiston and the Michigan Department of Education to reach out and coordinate all the latest information with local superintendents and districts."

Gov. Snyder acknowledges the prospect of closing schools is difficult on families that need to make plans on where to send their kids.

There are 38 schools on the state’s worst-performing list, most in the city of Detroit. The Kalamazoo and Saginaw school districts have also filed a lawsuit challenging the school closure law.

The governor says even if no schools are closed in the end, there has to be some type of state intervention to ensure kids are getting an education.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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