Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Well, I'm glad it's not a dispute

A bit more background on the Michigan charter school scandals. As mentioned before both here and in the Monkey Cage, for-profit charter school operators have been caught gouging the state's taxpayers in pretty much every way imaginable. The response from the governor's office has basically been that people shouldn't care about graft and overcharging as long as they are getting quality schools (They aren't -- Check out the Monkey Cage link -- but that's a topic for another day).

It's hard to imagine the "So there's graft. Get over it." political slogan being effective in any context, it seems particularly tone deaf in Michigan these days, in a period of brutal budget cuts on the state and local level. Class sizes in traditional public schools are nearing the breaking point. Even a relatively small unpaid water bill in Detroit can result in a shutoff (an especially heartless policy given the city's unemployment rate).

There are, however, certain clients with very large unpaid bills who have been allowed to skate for quite a while.

From the Detroit Free Press:
So we called DWSD spokesperson Gregory Eno, who tried explaining the discrepancy.

“First of all, the commercial accounts that we’re talking about here are in dispute with … what they believe they should be paying for stormwater runoff,” Eno says. “It’s not about traditional water usage like you and I would use, water in our home.”

Come again?

Eno says: “We have a number of commercial accounts that are in dispute — well, not a dispute — we say they owe such [an amount], they say” they owe a different figure.

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