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State schools chief to meet with DPS emergency manager about poor school building conditions

Jan 13, 2016

 

Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

State schools superintendent Brian Whiston says he has set up a meeting for this Friday in Detroit with Darnell Earley, the state-appointed emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools.

Whiston said the point of the meeting is to discuss concerns he's heard from the Detroit teachers' union about health and safety conditions in school buildings.

"I want to share those with the school district in Detroit and want to see what they're doing about those concerns," said Whiston. "If there's rodent problems, we need to address that. If there's mold problems, that needs to be addressed. Whatever these issues are, we need an immediate action plan."

Whiston said he plans to invite union leaders to attend Friday's meeting.

A series of school closures due to teacher absences have called attention to complaints of lack of heat, mold, and rodent problems in school buildings, as well as overcrowded classrooms and lack of supplies.

Whiston has called on teachers to end the sickouts.

"I care deeply about the safety and well-being of teachers in Detroit, just as I do the students," Whiston said earlier this week. "They all still need to be in the classrooms, teaching and learning, though. If buildings have health and safety issues, they need to be addressed immediately with the district administration and all appropriate agencies."

Detroit Public Schools is projected to run out of cash as early as April.