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Detroit Public Schools owed millions in unpaid rent, from another school district

Aug 9, 2016

UPDATE: The EAA has released emails that appear to show the state and DPS agreeing to revise payments from the EAA. You can read those emails here.

Yesterday, the governor's office said this debt debate is "really an issue for the EAA and MDE to be responding to," while the Michigan Department of Education declined to comment and referred questions to the Treasury Department. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a Treasury spokesperson confirmed the $14.8 million in payments owed by the EAA to DPS: 

 "As far as we know these are the correct numbers. Seeing as this is an issue between EAA and DPS, they are in the best position to provide the most up to date information about amounts and where they are in the process of resolving this issue."

Detroit Public Schools has still not responded to repeated requests for comment. 

TUESDAY: The Detroit Public School district is owed millions in unpaid rent from the Education Achievement Authority.

The EAA was created by Governor Snyder as a turnaround district for struggling schools. It took over 15 Detroit Public Schools buildings, and was supposed to be paying rent.

But emails published by The Detroit News suggest otherwise.

As the News' Sharon D. Lewis reports, the emails say the EAA owes nearly $15 million in unpaid rent and for security and tech services it shares with DPS. An email from the Treasury department also says the EAA chancellor, Veronica Conforme, has been asking DPS to forgive much of that debt in a new lease agreement.

A spokesperson for Treasury says they believe those numbers are still accurate.

DPS didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the EAA sent the following statement:  

“With the passing of HB 5384, the per pupil debt for DPS and EAA belongs to the ‘old co.’ Now Detroit Public Schools Community District and the EAA can have more equitable funding for our students in 2016-17.

“We continue working with DPS leadership under the direction of the Department of Treasury and the Governor’s office in regards to payment on previous lease agreements.

“We have partnered on a payment plan for the Information Technology and Detroit Public Schools Police Department services that the EAA receives. Payments are already underway and will be paid in full.

“The EAA and DPSCD share the same goal of providing a high quality education to all of our students.”

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