CRC Report: Local Governments Still Struggling With Decline In Tax Values
Gongwer News Service, December 14, 2016
Most local governments in Michigan have seen their total taxable value decline since the peak years of more than a decade ago, a report from the Citizens Research Council said, and state laws make it difficult for those communities to regain that value.



How Michigan ‘games’ the welfare-to-work system

Bridge Magazine, December 8, 2016
“In terms of bolstering the social safety net, I think there’s very little interest there,” said Craig Thiel, a senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, an independent non-partisan research organization. Thiel previously worked for the House Fiscal Agency.

Detroit school district faces uncertain future, “fragile” revenue streams
DebtWire, November 28, 2016
The 18-mill levy should generate around USD 65m through 2022 with annual debt service payments around USD 37m, according to Craig Thiel, a senior research associate at Citizens Research Council, an independent Michigan-based public policy organization.


Economic incentive plan lets employers redistribute wealth
Detroit Free Press, November 30, 2016
Snyder has said that because the value of abatements is prone to change, it’s difficult for government to account for them. That’s doubly true of this scheme — and if the payroll of a company making a partial withholding decreases abruptly, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, the state could be left in the lurch.


CRC Analyst: Snyder Right To Veto HICA Override
Gongwer News Service, November 7, 2016
Governor Rick Snyder appropriately vetoed a series of bills that would have ended the state’s Health Insurance Claims Assessment and instituted an alternative that likely would have been disallowed by the federal government, a tax and budget analyst for the Citizens Research Council said.


CRC Raises Different Constitutional Issue On $2.5M Private School Provision
MIRS News Service, October 31, 2016
A blog published by the Citizens Research Council (CRC) recently noted “there appears to be some legal uncertainty” about whether the $2.5 million for nonpublic schools in the most recent School Aid budget complies with a certain clause in the state Constitution outlining “private purpose” appropriations.


CRC: Regional Transit Tax Could Spur Growth But Add To Financial Burdens
Gongwer News Service, October 25, 2016
A proposed 1.2-mill tax that would be imposed on property owners in four metro Detroit counties has the potential to dramatically change mass transit in the region and possibly spur economic growth, an analysis from the Citizens Research Council said, but it also would add to the burden of the most heavily taxed region in the state, as well as face charges of inequitable distribution of benefits.


State Spending on “Shared Time” Students Grows 51%
9&10 News, October 24, 2016
According to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the number of shared time students last year… 11,300.


President Eric Lupher talks about the Citizens Research Council with M.L. Elrick
WJR, October 21, 2016


State spending on private school students rises to $86 million, report says
MLive.com, October 21, 2016
The practice, known as “shared time” enrollment, has been “fueled by newly participating districts, as well as by already participating districts growing their nonpublic enrollments,” according to the report, by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.


State of Michigan spending on private students up 51 percent in 3 years
Detroit Free Press, October 19.2016
Craig Thiel, senior research associate with the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which released the update as a follow-up to a 2014 study, said it is a trend “worthy of notice” as public school enrollment continues to decline. The spending, which totaled $57 million three years ago, amounted to about $60 per Michigan public school pupil last year, he said.


Michigan spends a lot of money to support non-public school students, and here’s why
Michigan Radio, October 18, 2016
Michigan will spend nearly $100 million to support non-public school students, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The report says the state will spend over $40 million more this year on non-public school students than it did just four years ago.


Detroit school lawsuit: Does U.S. Constitution guarantee literacy?
Detroit Free Press, October 2, 2016
“The language in our state constitution doesn’t set any quality standards,” said Craig Thiel, a senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council, a nonprofit public policy group. “We don’t have terms in our state constitution like sufficient and adequate. It says that public education should be encouraged and throws it to the Legislature to figure out how.”

Thiel said he agrees with the notion that education is a fundamental right, but doubts the current case will be a success because of the federal government’s limited role in setting education policy, which is mostly done by states and local school districts. He also worries it could harm public schools.

“It would put a serious strain on their ability to decide what’s best for them and this whole idea of local control,” Thiel said.


Held Back: Battling for the fate of a school district
Harper’s, October 2016
When Rhodes came to office, this past March, the Detroit public-school system was contending with an operating debt of more than $500 million, and the Citizens Research Council of Michigan had estimated that the total debt topped $3.5 billion. For years, money intended for students has instead been paying off old loans, and academic achievement has consistently ranked among the worst in American cities. At many school buildings, much-needed repairs to walls and leaky roofs have gone unaddressed; in the worst cases, mice could be seen scampering across unheated classrooms. For thirteen of the past seventeen years, the state has controlled the city’s school district, and with the more recent addition of all-powerful emergency managers, Detroiters have had to pin their frustrations and hopes on a rotating cast of emissaries. At the meeting, Rhodes — who has adopted the title “transition manager” — would present his recommendations to the community.

Speaker Ryan to tout Jack Bergman
Traverse City Record Eagle, September 25, 2016
Last week, at a dinner of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, Democrat James Blanchard was a vocal supporter of Clinton. Republican John Engler was not as gung-ho about Trump.


Evans Seeking Plan To Boost Local Revenues
Gongwer News Service, September 7, 2016
Eric Lupher with the Citizens Research Council said the state also did not see the restructuring after the Great Recession that it did after the Great Depression. “We just sort of muddled along and hoped we could get through it,” he said.

Mr. Lupher said there are a variety of examples of local option taxes nationally, but he said Michigan has little recent experience with those outside the income tax, and he said there are some indications those taxes would push residents and businesses to the lower-cost communities rather than improve revenues for the communities levying the taxes.


Shades of 1990? Engler and Blanchard do battle again
Detroit Free Press, September 23, 2016
Speaking at the centennial dinner of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, Engler was reluctant to wade into the partisan election issue, while Blanchard voiced unabashed support for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who he is working to elect.


Engler Tiptoes Around Trump; Blanchard Urges Clinton
Gongwer News Service, September 22, 2016
The two former chief executives, speaking at the Citizens Research Council‘s centennial celebration event, both lauded the current condition of the state, but also admitted some lack of knowledge of details.


Dividing lines
The Herald Palladium, September 5, 2016
The state gives school districts more money for at-risk students under Section 31a Funding, said Craig Thiel with Citizens Research Council, a public policy research organization based in Lansing and Livonia.

He said state law caps the amount that can be given at 11.5 percent above standard per-pupil aid, but the actual amount given last year was around 8 percent per at-risk student.

Troy debate: Transparency or secrecy on manager conduct
Detroit Free Press, August 15, 2016
Virtually every candidate for public office these days gives plugs to transparency — that is, governing in public view and with no secrets. But once elected, public officials soon disagree on how much transparency to allow, said Eric Lupher, president of the Livonia-based Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a think tank on public policy.


Detroit Public Schools’ restructuring yields problems – and opportunity
DebtWire, August 11, 2016
Treasury is also trying to ensure there are enough investors interested to land the lowest borrowing costs, so that the district’s 18-millage levy can be used for as many things as possible, the first source familiar said. This non-homestead tax, applied to business property, rentals, and second homes, yielded USD 72m in 2015, according to a Citizens Research Council report.


For Detroit’s new school board, state still wields the power
MLive.com, August 2, 2016
But Craig Thiel, senior research associate for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a not-for-profit public affairs research organization, said new board members shouldn’t expect to gently settle into their jobs in January. In fact, he said, board members could be thrown into a financial fire if student enrollment drops in the fall.

DPS enrollment has declined steeply beyond projections following a series of changes in the way the system has been structured over the years as the state, as well as local board members took turns trying to reverse years of academic decline. When unexpected enrollment drops take place, mid-year budget cuts and layoffs were used to balance the budget, Thiel said.

The turmoil over the past year — including the public debate about paying off the DPS deficit, the oversight over the new school board and the former school board filing a lawsuit to halt the reform — likely means that more Detroit families will send their students elsewhere, Thiel said.

“How realistic is that budget now?” he asked.

State must step up to protect cities from debt
Detroit Free Press, July 29, 2016
In December 2012, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan reported in detail on the legacy costs and indebtedness of the City of Detroit, and the council in 2013 reported on Detroit city government revenue. In neither of these reports nor otherwise did the council directly describe the perilous state of the city’s financial condition. And since the close of the bankruptcy case in November 2014, the council has not reported on how the city descended to the financial condition that caused it to go to the bankruptcy court for relief. Simply put, there has been no institutional study explaining how this debacle came about.


Businesses gain from stable child care, but what are they doing about it?
Crain’s Detroit Business, July 15, 2016
As Michigan shows, states are free to impose their own, more restrictive eligibility limits. Michigan’s was recently reset at 125 percent of federal poverty, which is about 38 percent of state median income, according to Bob Schneider of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. But budget challenges, not only through the last decade but in the most recent session, virtually guarantee that state funding for the program won’t expand further anytime soon.


State child-care program still reeling from claims of lax oversight
MLive.com, July 14, 2016
“The legislature had to do something,” said Bob Schneider, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research group.

Schneider has studied the CDC child-care subsidy program, which in Michigan serves fewer children than it has the capacity to fund, mostly due to low reimbursement to providers and a strict threshold of eligibility. He said that as DHS improved its oversight, of both finances and providers, “a massive decline in the caseload” began to take shape.

Michigan’s low investment in child care costs state and poor children alike
MLive.com, June 30, 2016
“You have to be really poor to get in, and then we don’t pay much to people who care for these kids,” said Bob Schneider, director of state affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonpartisan public policy research group.


Michigan Schools in Tight Spot
The Bond Buyer, June 29, 2016
A June Citizens Research Council of Michigan report shows that the number of Detroit resident children enrolled in schools has been declining. In the last five years that number has fallen to about 110,000 from 144,000. The district has lost close to 30% of its public school enrollment.


New Detroit schools legislation fails to address “ongoing structural problems,” report says
Michigan Radio, June 22, 2016
A newly-released study from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan points to growing challenges in funding the education of Detroit’s kids — factors the new state plan did not take into account.


Feeling the pressure
The Herald-Palladium, June 15, 2016
Benton Harbor’s financial woes are a taste of what’s ahead for many Michigan municipalities.

That’s according to Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, an independent nonprofit research organization.

“A lot of people who are looking at the trends for these local governments are coming to the same conclusions,” he said.


Without more state revenue, cities can’t thrive, talent won’t stay
Grand Rapids Business Journal, June 10, 2016
Minnesota, as the think tank I lead documented in our State Policies Matters report, has taken the opposite path. The Citizens Research Council in its recently released “2013 Tax Revenue Comparisons: Michigan and the U.S. Average” reports that Michigan ranked 35th in state and local tax revenue per capita and 36th in state and local tax revenue as a portion of personal income. Minnesota is a top-10 state in both.


Michigan legislature approves Detroit school bailout: What’s next?
Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 2016
“This influx of money just puts the Detroit Public Schools on an even footing with other education providers such as charter schools,” says Eric Lupher, the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “Safety, maintenance, and staffing issues still remain the same.”

With corporate income tax comes volatility for Michigan, economists say
MiBiz Business News, May 29, 2016
Robert Schneider, director of state affairs with the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, said a drop in corporate profits has occurred nationally for the past couple of quarters.

“I think folks are hopeful this is a blip,” he said. “Regardless, I think it was recognized at the time (it was passed by the Legislature) that (volatility) was one of the cons. Anytime you have a tax based on profits — your revenues minus your costs — that is going to bounce around a lot more than on total sales.

“If volatility is a problem the state wants to rectify, you really need to look to a different model.”


DPS rescue stalls from fight on aid to fix schools
Detroit News, May 16, 2016
The capital improvement bonds, combined with additional borrowing for operations and other purposes, helped the district accrue $1.5 billion in general obligation debt as of August 2015, according to the Citizens Research Council.


Detroit Schools plagued by mismanagement, student losses
AP.com, May 15, 2016
But state control over Detroit’s schools has failed, said Craig Thiel, of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a nonprofit policy research group.

“The model is focused almost exclusively on the finances and has very little to do with the academics,” he said. “If you don’t give time for academic reforms to work, the revenue comes down too quickly.”


In Flint, is philanthropy stepping in for government?
Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2016
Even with the state stepping up, there are needs out there that just can’t wait for the state to appropriate the money and wait for the bureaucratic channeling of funds that has to take place,” says Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a public policy research group in Lansing. “That’s not pejorative, that’s a fact of life.”

“If you live in the city of Flint,” he adds, “you don’t want to wait for the money to show up. You want to take your kids to the doctor now.”


How to make democracy work in Michigan
Detroit News, May 12, 2016
The survey data also show that the divide between those with liberal and conservative leanings is growing. We at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan are struck by the growing trend of policy-making based on ideological faith rather than researched reason. Some vote on policy decisions with the faith that their political leanings will result in improvements, rather than digging into all of the information to make reasoned decisions.


Study Finds Michigan Tax Burden Less Than Average
Gongwer News Service, May 3, 2016
A combination of tax policy changes, economic factors and demographic changes means Michigan ranks in the lower tier of all states in terms of per capita tax burden, a report from the Citizens Research Council shows.


CRC Report: MI Tax Burden Below National Average
MIRS News, May 2, 2016
Michigan’s state and local tax burden ranked 35th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to an analysis of 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data done by Citizens Research Council (CRC).

Richland voters to decide whether village remains or is dissolved
MLive.com, April 30, 2016
The President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan Eric Lupher told WMUK’s Gordon Evans his group worked with the Village of Onekama near Manistee when a group there wanted to dissolve their village. Lupher says the proposal did not receive a majority, much less the super-majority needed to dis-incorporate the village.


A Vote In Richland And Local Government’s Future
WMUK – West Southwest, April 28, 2016
Richland could become the first village to dis-incorporate if voters in the village and township approve a ballot proposal on May third. It would require a two-thirds vote. The President of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan Eric Lupher joined WMUK’s Gordon Evans to explain how villages work, and what happens if they are dissolved.


DPS keeps $30M in federal aid meant for pensions
Detroit News, April 25, 2016
Detroit school leaders didn’t think “through entirely of the implications” of keeping the federal aid instead of passing it along to the state pension system, said Craig Thiel, a senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Feds Says DPS Didn’t Direct $30M To Pension As Required
MIRS News Service, April 25, 2016
The up to $30 million in question is part of the larger pension obligation that DPS owes to MPSERS, Rhodes wrote. The Citizens Research Council (CRC) in February reported that DPS is delinquent $80.9 million in MPSERS payments and has a combined $1.316 billion in MPSERS liability (See “Bankruptcy Called ‘Horrible’ Option In Dealing With DPS,” 1/13/16).


Want to fix Michigan cities? Here’s how
Detroit Free Press, April 17, 2016
But there are some caveats, says Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council.

“We have gone for so long just giving governments (roughly) whatever they got the year before,” Lupher said. “We need to make sure there’s a rational way of distributing it to governments weighted to need.”


Taxpayer Group Sues Washtenaw County Over Tax Hikes
MIRS News Service, April 14, 2016
Eric LUPHER of the Citizens’ Research Council wrote on his organization’s blog that counties have the power to levy taxes that were in the books before the Headlee Amendment was adopted.

“For counties, this includes Public Act 88 of 1913 for economic development purposes,” Lupher wrote.


A Century of Wonky Love
Gongwer Blog, April , 2016
If anyone could write a love letter to a wonkish organization, well, this would be the letter.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has celebrated its 100th anniversary this week, and the nearly 10 million souls in this state are lucky for that. The CRC has been an organization willing to wade into the murky, weed-choked ponds of public policy and made them a little clearer for the citizens to ingest. In so doing, it has helped change this state.


A Century Of “Making Democracy Work”
WestSouthwest – WMUK Kalamazoo Public Radio, April 14, 2016
The non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization is marking its 100th anniversary. The Council is holding a series of events and is releasing a book Citizens Research Council of Michigan, 100 Years, Making Democracy Work.


A century of fighting for good government
Lansing State Journal, April 12, 2016
The Citizens Research Council marks its 100th year of working behind the scenes toward making local and state government work better.


Here’s a thought: Know what you’re talking about before you criticize
Michigan Radio, April 12, 2016
There was a systematic failure of government at the highest levels, and we’ll still be sorting out what went wrong for some time. I do not know whether the Citizens’ Research Council of Michigan is planning to issue a report about what went wrong in Flint.


Citizens Research Council marks 100 years of putting government under its microscope
Bridge Magazine, April 12, 2016
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is hardly a household name in most of the state. With fewer than 10 full-time employees, housed in unremarkable office buildings in Livonia and Lansing, its low profile belies its impact in state policy circles.

Gov. Rick Snyder approves $48.7M in emergency funding to keep Detroit schools open
MLive.com, March 29, 2016
Letting the district go bankrupt is seen as a much more costly option, as much of DPS’ debt is guaranteed by the state. In all, the district has over $3.5 billion in operating and capital liabilities, according to a report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan Senate approves Detroit schools rescue package
MLive.com, March 22, 2016
The total DPS rescue package is expected to cost $715 million over 10-years. Letting the district go bankrupt is seen as a much more costly option, as much of DPS’ debt is guaranteed by the state. In all, the district has over $3.5 billion in operating and capital liabilities, according to a report by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Michigan Senate OKs bailout package for Detroit schools
WDIV-TV, March 22, 2016
According the Citizens Research Council, roughly $3,000, or 40 percent of the state education grant per pupil is spent to make payments on the debt.


Future cloudy for troubled EAA
Detroit News, March 22, 2016
“Stability is key, especially for parents who have enough instability outside the schools,” said Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council Center. “Wondering where their kid will go to school is adding another big concern because that affects the trajectory of the kid’s future, and not having answers is not good.”


Group: Data points to ‘disinvestment’ in Mich. cities
Detroit News, March 21, 2016
He was joined at Monday’s news conference by Eric Lupher of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Group and former House Fiscal Agency head Mitch Bean, who now works with Great Lakes Economic Consulting.

Lupher’s group, in a 2015 report to the state Legislature, said Michigan’s revenue sharing program “bears little resemblance to its prior self” and could be revisited to meet the needs of more communities.

“If the Legislature is serious about the health of local governments, it needs to be funded,” Lupher said Monday of the statutory revenue sharing program.


Detroit schools and the $715-million Band-Aid
Bridge Magazine, March 17, 2016
“That’s a real possibility,” said Craig Thiel, a senior research associate for Citizens Research Council, a nonpartisan policy research group in Lansing. A report prepared this month by CRC lays out financial trends in DPS and identifies seven key problems that will continue to haunt DPS even if the state provides funds to erase the current debt.


Facing declining enrollment, Farmington votes to close schools – but it’s not alone
Michigan Radio, March 16, 2016
And around three-quarters of all districts in the state saw some kind of enrollment decline since the 2013-14 school year, says Craig Thiel, a senior researcher with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


U.S. Supreme Court may change MI redistricting process
WKAR Public Radio, March 14, 2016
Michigan’s state legislative districts are created based on the total number of people living in a particular area, but a case before the U.S. Supreme Court might alter that system. We talk about how Michigan might be affected from Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


Repeal section 57
Midland Daily News, March 9, 2016
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan summarizes their viewpoint regarding section 57 this way: “Citizens deserve to have access to the best and most comprehensive information about their government and the decisions affecting the public’s health, security and well-being. If that information is withheld from citizens, especially when they are tasked with decision making responsibility, government suffers. And if government suffers, the people receiving government services suffer.”


How the Supreme Court could change Greater Lansing politics
Lansing State Journal, March 4, 2016
If justices opted for the latter, at least three legislative districts in the Lansing region would suddenly violate a Michigan law that says the population of each district must be within 5% of the target for equally proportioned districts, according to a new analysis by the Citizens Research Council. The 69th state House District, covering East Lansing and the northeasternmost parts of Ingham County, would be the epicenter of change.


Democracy Tree: Run ’em like a business… right into the ground
TownBroadcast
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has compiled some of the more damning facts and figures illustrating the devastation wrought through Lansing’s bad public policy decisions and cruel revenue withholding practices.


Local Governments, Shirkey Clash On Judgment Levies
MIRS News Service, February 23, 2016
The legislation is based on a report from the Citizens Research Council, which recommends bringing judgment levies into accordance with constitutionally outlined tax limitations.


Shirkey Gets First Hearing On Municipality Judgment Legislation
Gongwer News Service, February 23, 2016
The Citizens Research Council testified as neutral on the bills, noting that on questions of constitutionality, the taxes in question predate the Headlee Amendment, but there is also a question on whether these taxes should be allowed to exceed tax limits.


Proposed State Budget At Odds With New Roads Funding Goal
WDET Public Radio, February 23, 2016
A new plan to fund road repairs across Michigan passed the legislature late last year but analysis of Governor Snyder’s newly proposed budget shows it could be another five years before the state sees any significant increase in available funding for road repairs. The non-partisan Citizens Research Council budget analysis says there is a possibility that the next budget may even include fewer dollars for roads. Amy Miller asked CRC State Affairs Director Bob Schneider to break down the numbers.


Detroit bankruptcy judge appointed to restructure public schools
World Socialist Web Site, February 15, 2016
A recent change in reporting requirements seems designed to facilitate this aim. Starting in fiscal year 2015, each school district is required to calculate its actuarially accrued pension liabilities and place these alarmingly large figures on their balance sheet. According to the Citizens Research Council report issued in January, the DPS owed nearly $873 million in actuarially accrued pension payments and $81 million in delinquent MPSERS payments (including hefty interest costs).


Snyder to seek $72M in ’17 budget for DPS rescue
Detroit News, February 10, 2016
Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council discussed the district’s $3.5 billion in debt in a slide presentation. He said the debt is divided into two separate parts: operating and capital.

“The operating is taken from operation dollars in the per pupil fund and the capital is backed by a dedicated property tax,” he said.


Yes, it’s a gag rule, and withholding information will hurt government
Bridge Magazine, February 5, 2016
Guest commentary


Senate leader: EAA set to be eliminated
Detroit News, February 2, 2016
All told, Detroit schools has $3.5 billion in combined operating and capital liabilities, according a recent report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. That includes $1.9 billion in employee legacy costs and cash flow borrowing, along with nearly $1.7 billion in outstanding bonds and state loans.

Teacher ‘Sick-Outs’ Shut Down Nearly All Detroit Public Schools
MyTechBits.com, January 23, 2016
Detroit Public Schools is drowning under $3.5 billion of debt and needs to be rescued by the state of MI, according to a report released this month by Citizens Research Council of MI, a nonprofit public affairs group.


Michigan governor urges action on Detroit schools before court intervenes
Reuters, January 22, 2016
The school system faces an estimated $3.5 billion in debt, according to one report from a nonprofit public affairs group, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.


How bad are conditions in Detroit public schools? This appalling.
Washington Post, January 20, 2016
The city’s public school system has been in serious trouble for years. A report issued this month by the nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan said that the Detroit district has a debt of more than $3.5 billion…


Many Detroit schools remain closed as teachers protest poor facility conditions
MyTechBits.com, January 17, 2016
The school district is drowning under $3.5 billion of debt and needs to be rescued by the state of MI, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Citizens Research Council of MI, a nonprofit government affairs group.


Day of reckoning near as Detroit schools pushed to fiscal brink
Crain’s Detroit Business, January 16, 2016
“Things are looking rough, they’re coming to a head,” said Craig Thiel, senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which released a report this month on the district’s debt. “The state sends its checks to the district after holding out money to repay short-term borrowings. Whatever is left is available to pay teachers, buy books and turn on the lights.”


Detroit ‘Sickout’: Teachers Demand Better Conditions To Teach Students
MyTechBits.com, January 15, 2016
The school district is drowning under $3.5 billion of debt and needs to be rescued by the state of MI, according to a report released on Wednesday by Citizens Research Council of MI, a nonprofit public affairs group. The district serves about 46,000 students in 100 schools. Gov. Rick Snyder wants to pay off the debt and create a new district, but he lacks support so far in the Legislature.


How banks, privatizers and politicians bankrupted the schools
World Socialist Web Site, January 8, 2016
*According to a Citizens Research Council (CRC) report published this week, last August the district, no doubt through the state-appointed emergency manager, decided that DPS would make debt payments rather than paying its pension liabilities for seven months last year. The penalties accruing to the state were staggering: $7,600 a day, with $78,000 in fees for each additional month the DPS was delinquent, according to the Detroit News. The DPS is now $114 million behind on the pensions, an amount which is expected to top $157 million by July.


End holdup on Detroit schools fix
Detroit Free Press, January 7, 2016
A new report describes Detroit Public Schools’ financial crisis in a series of appalling numbers. The district has $3.5 billion in total debt: $1.9 billion in legacy costs and short-term debt and almost $1.7 billion for bonds and capital improvements. The district’s accumulated deficit has soared to $215 million. It’s behind on payments to its pension fund. And it may run out of cash by April.

The report, released this week by the nonpartisan research group Citizens Research Council, is the most dismal assessment yet of the district’s financial circumstances. And that’s saying something.


DPS debt disaster can’t be ignored
Detroit News, January 7, 2016
A Citizens Research Council of Michigan report out this week examined DPS’ finances, and it concludes the state must get involved.

“The district isn’t going to get out of this problem on its own,” says Craig Thiel, a senior research associate and the author of the CRC study. “It’s a matter of how the state gets involved.”


Detroit Public Schools could run out of money by April
Fox 2 Detroit, January 6, 2016
Does that mean DPS students are not getting a good education because they don’t have enough money? Maybe, according to Eric Lupher, the President of Citizens research Council of Michigan.

“There’s only so much money and when you have to spread it over more things, that means there’s less money to pay for the teachers, to pay for the supplies you need, to pay for the books, to pay for the gas to run busses and everything else,” Lupher said.


Report: DPS owes $3.5B; out of cash in April?
Detroit Free Press, January 6, 2016
The report, released today by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, offers the first detailed breakdown of employee legacy costs and sheds light on how the district’s borrowing practices have added to the crisis, said Craig Thiel, senior research associate for the council. It urges state officials to take quick action.


CRC Echoes Call For Comprehensive DPS Solution
Gongwer News Service, January 6, 2016
After outlining all of Detroit Public Schools’ debt, and who might be liable if the district defaults, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan said in a report issued Wednesday that any policy change has to address both the long-term financial problems and academics.


Debt-laden Detroit schools need state help: study
Reuters, January 6, 2016
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan said debt payments by the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) are consuming revenue required to fund education services. The findings increase pressure on state lawmakers, who have been reluctant to pass a financial fix for Michigan’s biggest school system.


Heading into 2016, Detroit Public Schools drowning in debt
Michigan Radio, January 5, 2016
Cynthia Canty interviews the Detroit News Chad Livengood about his Detroit Public Schools article.


Debt payments set to balloon for Detroit Public Schools
Detroit News, January 4, 2016
“That’s $3,000 that isn’t available for each kid this year, and it pays for the education of kids 10 to 15 years ago,” said Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “They’re as close as they’ve ever been to being insolvent, where you’ve got multiple bills that are owed to the state that have gone unpaid.”