Schuette, Detroit school board clash in court

Jan 10, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette continues his effort to remove some Detroit school board members.

A Wayne County judge heard oral arguments Thursday about Schuette’s lawsuit to throw out seven board members elected by district.

Schuette says state law only allows so-called “first class” school districts to elect board members that way. He says Detroit hasn’t met that threshold since 2008.

School board attorney George Washington insists his clients followed the law "as the legislature wrote it."

Washington also noted the lawsuit was only filed in 2012, after Michigan’s emergency manager law was suspended.

“They were happy with the way the school board was elected, until they thought they might not have a financial manager," Washington said. "And then they said, ‘Well, we gotta get rid of the board. No matter what the law says, or what we’ve allowed to happen.'"

Washington says Lansing just wanted to get rid of the board, which has strongly challenged the district’s now-emergency financial manager, Roy Roberts.

Joy Yearout, a spokesperson for Schuette, said it’s the attorney general’s job “to enforce state law…and in this case, the law is clear.”