DPS bankruptcy, Flint water focus at Mackinac conference

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on May 31, 2016.

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island kicks off Tuesday and it could be interesting for a number of reasons.

In the past several years the mood has been upbeat during these gatherings. Following Detroit’s bankruptcy and subsequent ability to partially rebuild and attract or retain businesses.

That is a far different circumstance than in the early 2000s when there were concerns over the financial and other challenges facing Detroit and the state as a whole.

So now it should be an opportunity to look at the successes of the past and try to figure out with leaders statewide how to move both the City of Detroit and the rest of Michigan forward.

However, that attitude may be hampered by looming problems that face the city right now.

Detroit Public Schools is in danger of running out of cash and soon.

The state Senate has come up with a plan that would put more than $700 million into the schools, which stakeholders see as a step in the right direction.

However, the state House has come up with a smaller, $500 million restructuring plan that detractors say will not get the job done.

The education question is first and foremost about the students in the system today who are suffering from a poor infrastructure and an uncertain future.

There are also concerns about the continuing revitalization of Detroit if it does not have a consistent and reliable education system.

That coupled by lingering questions as to how the state has been handling the Flint water crisis and what happens with an energy policy for the state could all become topics of discussion.

Nonetheless, the conference is expected to bring big crowds with most of the elected leaders at the federal and state levels to attend.

24 Hour News 8 will be on Mackinac Island all week to let you know what develops.

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