I am not in favor of the Grand Bargain where Detroit surrenders ownership of its art stored at the DIA, that appears to have a value in excess of $10 billion, while receiving approximately only $500 million in present value dollars. This converts into getting 5 cents for every $1 dollar of art given away. This makes no sense for a city in deep financial trouble.
I have expressed my desire the art be used to transform Detroit Public Schools (DPS) into the best public school system in the state. It would not only improve the performance of the children attending DPS presently, but also attract suburban middle class families to the city because one of the highest objectives of all parents is to give their children a better and more fulfilling life then they experienced. It is commonly recognized that education is a major ingredient to make this happen.
As Darnell Macon posted the other day in the Detroit Free Press, "The streets can be glittered in gold but no families will move into a city with a failing school system."If Detroit is to prosper it must increase its middle class. If it is going to increase its middle class it must improve its schools. DPS is not part of city government. Nonetheless DPS must be a critical part of bringing back the vitality of the city. The city will not come back if the schools do not improve.
Before DPS deserves the right to receive any funds from the sale of art at the DIA it is reasonable to expect they will, and should, be required to present a plan that lays out in detail exactly how much funds are needed, how the money would be spent, what are the expected results and the time frame to achieve these results.
This is not the time to create some pie in the sky plan. It needs to be as real as possible and supported by research and facts. The developers of the plan must be practical and recognize that fruits of the plan will not be fully seen for a decade. Once implemented progress will be seen quickly, however a total turn around of DPS will take the most of a decade.
Detroit, how do we make this happen? Judge Rhodes will not buy into this idea without comfort that the likelihood of success is high.