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Detroit school board begins new era with massive to-do list

Jan 9, 2017

This is an important week for Detroit schools. For the first time in seven years, an elected school board is in place. The board takes control of the schools that have been run for nearly 20 years by state-appointed managers. 63 candidates were on the ballot. The voters chose seven of them to make up the new school board.

One of those is Sonya Mays. She graduated from Detroit Renaissance High School and then went on to the University of Michigan, where she worked her way to a bachelor's degree, an MBA and then her law degree.

She is the president and CEO of Develop Detroit which is a non-profit group that works to rebuild and strengthen city neighborhoods.

Mays joined Stateside to talk about the board becoming "official" on January 1 and what the expectations are.

There is a laundry list of issues that the school board has to tackle right off the bat, but Mays says they are prepared. In the first 90 days, they have to find a permanent superintendent, they have an SRO school closure process that has to be dealt with, there are expiring collective bargaining agreements for teachers, and they have to complete the integration of the EAA (Education Achievement Authority) schools back into the Detroit Public Schools.

Once they take care of those urgent issues, they can start focusing on long-term solutions for DPS.

Listen to the full interview to hear more about the board's massive to-do list, who the candidates are for a permanent superintendent and her thoughts on the plan to close schools who rank in the bottom 5% of DPS.

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