State manager for Detroit schools leaving job early

In a photo from Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Detroit, the skyline of the city of Detroit is seen. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — In a week that will see the state Senate begin hearings on a sweeping overhaul and cash infusion for Detroit Public Schools, the district’s emergency manager has decided to leave.

Two major issues facing the Snyder administration have converged and one may well make the other more difficult.

First, Detroit Public Schools. A district that has lost nearly two thirds of its students and the funding that goes with them in the last decade is on the verge of finical collapse.

Gov. Rick Snyder has urged the legislature to come up with more than $700 million in the next decade to prop up the institution responsible for nearly 47,000 students.

>>Inside To The Point: Detroit Public Schools funding

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says those hearings will be thorough.

“I’ll tell you from my perspective, we have 46, 47 thousand kids for whom a system has failed them over a long period of time, has not given them the tools to be successful adults or citizens. That’s not acceptable,” Meekhof told 24 Hour News 8.

Even as that effort is getting underway, it was announced that Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is leaving his job.

Earley said, essentially, that he believed his work with the district was done but that is where another major issue facing Snyder: the Flint water crisis.

>>Inside Complete coverage of the Flint water crisis

Earley was the emergency manager of Flint before going to DPS and was scheduled to testify Wednesday in front of a Congressional panel in Washington about his involvement in the water debacle.

Reports now say he will not testify which leader Democratic leader Sen. Jim Ananich of Flint to release the following statement:

“For the sake of the kids, Earley needed to go, but this move should in no way allow him to dodge his responsibility to fully comply with every investigation about his role in the Flint water crisis. The governor must demand that he testify before Congress tomorrow… Make no mistake, this announcement today was not motivated by what is best for the children – it was about saving face for the politicians who are worried about what he might reveal under oath.”

This highlights how political the Flint water issue has become and how it increasingly may start interfering with other big initiatives.

>>Inside How you can help Flint residents

A Detroit Public Schools fix will take a delicate balance between Democrats and Republicans to come up with an additional $70 million a year for the next decade.

As the Flint crisis continues to dominate the conversation in Lansing, finding that balance may well become more difficult.

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