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DPS board meets for the last time, as "old" school district is eliminated

Jul 1, 2016

The Detroit Public Schools’ board of education met for the final time ever on Thursday.

The board has very little to do now as part of the "old,” debt-ridden DPS.

It will be replaced by a “new” district, run by a “transition manager”—currently the district’s last emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes.

Gov. Snyder just signed bills setting up this bankruptcy-style restructuring just last week.

Board members are going out fighting, though. One of their final acts was to spearhead a lawsuit, which seeks an injunction against the legislation that changed the structure of DPS.

Board president Lamar Lemmons says the state’s solution to the old district’s impending bankruptcy amounted to “confiscation through legislation.”

“The normal process to acquire the property of an entity would be the judicial process, where there would be due process as well as discovery to determine the penalty, or the action of court,” he said. “What they’ve done is imposed the penalty of bankruptcy, without due process.”

Lemmons says the current “board in exile,” as some members have dubbed it, will continue to meet and fight for public education in Detroit.

Some of those board members plan to run for the board of the “new” district, which will be voted on in November.

That board won’t be fully empowered, though. The legislation mandates that a state-appointed financial review commission, which oversees Detroit finances post-bankruptcy, also have financial oversight of the new school district.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the current school board was dissolved. While it effectively has no powers, the current board will legally continue to exist until the seven members of the new community district board are elected and assume office on January 1st.