Sep 16, 2019
In Detroit, Kettering High School graduates just gathered one last time to enjoy an alumni picnic on the grounds of their old school. In 2012, the State of Michigan’s Emergency Manager had closed the school, claiming it “cost too much” to maintain.
The closure of the school and its West Wing, renowned for its expertise in caring for severely impaired children, created many difficulties for those who had depended on it.
Now this school that “cost too much” will soon be purchased by the City of Detroit. The plan is to hand the land to an auto supplier to service the expanded Fiat-Chrysler Jeep plant nearby.
The City says it will give the school district 2.6 million dollars for the 27 acres near major interstates. The Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC) says it is coordinating a package of paid-for improvements, utilities, and long-term tax benefits, as usual.
City and state government will justify this giveaway in the name of “creating jobs” – promises that turn out to be only at half wages, or last only until the ink is dry on the land deal, or until the tax breaks expire.
There were many jobs already at Kettering. There were teachers, aides, secretaries, social workers, custodians, skilled trades – good, permanent, useful jobs.
But maintaining a high school in a working-class district comes in at rock bottom of the government’s priority list, compared to providing cheap land, labor, and services for the convenience of large corporations.
Add Kettering to the long list that shows that throwing money at corporations is the top priority for government.