detroit public schools

DPS EM Steven Rhodes, center, takes notes at a meeting with Detroit's elected school board.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager, Steven Rhodes, met with the district’s elected board for the first time publicly Wednesday.

That board has been virtually powerless since emergency managers started running DPS in 2009.

Rhodes largely sat quietly, taking notes, as board members peppered him with questions about how the district got to the verge of bankruptcy. They’re pushing for a forensic audit of the district’s finances, particularly contracting practices, during the past seven years of state control.

lockers lining a school hallway
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools needs a financial lifeline from Lansing to keep going beyond this school year.

But efforts to get that done in the state Legislature have largely been hijacked by big donors with different views on a separate but related issue: oversight of the city’s charter schools.

At least, that’s the conclusion of a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

DPS emergency manager Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Contract talks between Detroit Public Schools teachers and the district’s emergency manager are on hold, and union leaders say that’s a mistake.

Contracts for DPS teachers and most other school employees expire June 30th.

Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes has said the district will delay collective bargaining until Lansing acts on legislation to prevent a DPS bankruptcy.

Jodi Westrick

There are big differences between the state House and Senate on what to do next about the budget crisis facing Detroit Public Schools. 

The district needs a massive influx of state aid to stay open next school year. DPS interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather joined Cynthia Canty on today’s Stateside to explain how she hopes to elevate the quality of education for all Detroit public school students.

nearly one in every five DPS students  qualifies for some special education services
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The man behind a bribery-and-kickback scheme in Detroit Public Schools pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday.

Norman Shy, 74, ran AllState Sales, a school supplies company.

Starting in 2009, federal prosecutors say he conspired with school principals and one DPS administrator to inflate invoices for at least five years.

During that time, Shy got paid at least $2.7 million for school supplies he never delivered, and shared those profits with school officials.

Alycia Meriweather announces the district's new offerings at Detroit's Cooke Elementary School.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools is planning a dozen “innovative” new school programs for the fall.

They include Montessori programs, an Arabic dual language immersion school, expanded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) offerings, new programs for English language learners, and more opportunities for outdoor experience and “place-based education,” among other things.

Detroit teachers want a forensic audit, so they held a lemonade stand to raise money and public awareness at Detroit's Eastern Market this weekend.
flickr user Rob Bertholf / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Public Schools has been controlled by the state since 2009. 

Yet, the latest emergency manager says without an infusion of cash from the state, the district won't be able to meet its financial obligations after June 30. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

With the Detroit Public Schools on the verge of financial collapse, many people want to know how things went so wrong.

Some teachers are trying to do something about that. They want a forensic audit of the district’s finances since it came under state emergency management in 2009.

A group of DPS teachers set up a lemonade stand near Detroit’s Eastern Market to raise money for the cause this weekend.

Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It took 15 hours and an all-nighter, but the state House narrowly managed to approve a package of six bills aimed at fixing the Detroit Public Schools. 

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics team Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sit down with us today to talk about the bills, and about how the House and Senate have different views about how to keep DPS doors open. 

DPS emergency manager Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Most Detroit teachers are expected back in the classroom Wednesday, after two straight days of teacher sickouts effectively shuttered the Detroit Public Schools.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers called for members to return to work, saying they’ve received written assurance from the district’s emergency manager that teachers will receive full pay for the school year.

The DFT had urged teachers to “sick out” in protest, after discovering just days earlier that DPS didn’t have the money to pay teachers who elect to spread their pay through the summer months.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week's Detroit teacher sickout protests have renewed pressure on state lawmakers to lead the struggling Detroit Public Schools out of its financial hole.

GOP lawmakers in the House expressed frustration with the labor stoppage, which started after teachers were informed the district might not be able to cover their paychecks after June 30.

The House plan would allocate $500 million to help the school district pay off its debts. It would also erode the power of the teachers’ union.

Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, speaks to reporters on the Senate floor after the Senate passed Senate Bills 710, 711, and 819 - 822, measures that would reform Detroit's public schools.
senatorgoeffhansen.com

Almost every Detroit public school was closed today, the second day of a mass teacher sickout over pay and other issues. Some 45,000 students missed class.

In light of Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes’ declaration that the district will run out of money by June 30 without an influx of cash from the state, it seemed like a good time to speak with Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, who’s been leading the push to get the rescue plan through the state Legislature.

Hansen tells us this latest round of teacher sickouts creates a legislative challenge.

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Nearly all Detroit Public Schools are closed again today, as too many teachers called in sick to protest being asked to work without guaranteed pay.

It's the second straight day almost all the district's 97 schools have been closed.

Teachers have known for months that Detroit Public Schools will run out of money after June 30, unless Michigan lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term aid.

But anger boiled over when they found out just days ago that most teachers might not get paid their full salaries for the current school year.

Detroit teachers protesting downtown on May 2, 2016.
Sarah Jardine

Nearly all Detroit schools closed today due to a massive sick-out conducted by the city's teachers.

Earlier this year, there were a series of sick-outs aimed at bringing attention to both the poor physical and financial state of Detroit Public Schools.

Today's protest is different from previous events because the teacher's union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, is encouraging teachers to take part. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools says the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

  The Detroit Free Press reports  that former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said in an email Saturday that the district also will be unable to fund summer school or special education programs after June 30.

  Rhodes was appointed by the state to oversee the district's finances.

From a Detroit classroom
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Many Detroit school principals accused of taking kickbacks from a contractor have struck deals with the government and are scheduled to plead guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 11 guilty pleas so far are scheduled in April and May, including deals with nine principals. The man at the center of the probe, vendor Norman Shy, is scheduled to plead guilty on May 11.

Robert Bobb helps student with homework
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

In Detroit, 12 public school principals are accused of taking kickbacks on supplies that were never delivered.

The charges, announced late last month, pose another blow to the long-troubled Detroit Public Schools, which needs hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term state aid if it wants to see another school year.

Here's how the alleged kickback scheme worked: 12 principals, all working separately, gave contracts for school supplies to a vendor, Norman Shy, who then kicked back some profits to them.

lockers lining a school hallway
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

As part of an effort to boost enrollment and academic achievement, Detroit Public Schools plans to open a Montessori program and a dual-language Arabic technical school as part of an effort to boost enrollment and academic achievement. 

Drinking fountains continue to be tested in Detroit's public schools
Gabrielle Emanuel / Michigan Radio

Elevated levels of lead and copper have been found in the water at 17 more schools in the Detroit Public School district. Two schools of the have already announced high levels of the substances.  

Detroit Public Schools began collecting and testing water samples from over 60 schools in the district the week of March 28.

via Detroit Public Schools

Gov. Rick Snyder is a defendant in yet another lawsuit – this time, a federal lawsuit over the state of the Detroit Public Schools.

Members of Detroit’s elected school board and some parents filed the suit, which seeks class-action status on behalf of about 58,000 students who have attended DPS schools since 2011.

The lawsuit alleges that financial, academic, and other conditions in the district have declined so much they violate students’ civil rights.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

It may soon get a little easier for Detroit parents to figure out which schools are the right fit for their kids.

Navigating the maze of options – and enrollment deadlines, and application processes – from Detroit Public Schools, the Education Achievement Authority, and charter schools can feel overwhelming for some families.

Starting Friday, a new program called Enroll Detroit will offer parents a common application and enrollment system.

Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The principal of Ypsilanti Community High School is among those facing federal charges for corruption in Detroit Public Schools.

Tanya Bowman is one of 13 current and former DPS employees accused of defrauding the district in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Republican pushback on the State Board of Education's new LGBT guidelines, an alleged bribery and kickback scheme now plaguing Detroit's struggling school district, and State Sen. Virgil Smith's jail sentence.  


flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Fourteen people face federal charges for defrauding the Detroit Public Schools in an alleged bribery-and-kickback scheme.

Those charged include 12 current and former principals, one district administrator, and a school supplies vendor.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with students at the Detroit Promise Zone scholarship announcement.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit is joining the list of Michigan communities offering “promise zone” college scholarships.

The program, enacted by state lawmakers years ago, but never implemented in Detroit until now, guarantees any Detroit high school graduate two years' tuition at five Metro Detroit community colleges.

morgueFile user kconnors / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

   The state Senate has approved a plan for a financial bailout of the Detroit school system.

The bills not only help pay off a crushing debt burden, they also return control of the district to a locally-elected school board, and give a second, appointed board the power to close low-performing schools – including charter academies.

But the bill package didn’t go far enough to satisfy some Democrats. And the sheer size of the payout - the package is expected to cost more than $715 million - and the control over charters was too much for some Republicans.

flickr user Violet Jiang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Late last week, the state House passed a stopgap funding bill that gives nearly $50 million to the Detroit Public Schools.

That’s just enough money to see the flailing school district through to the end of this school year.

Governor Snyder’s proposed $715 million fix is still on the table. It would divide the district into two entities: an “Old Co.” that would use millage revenue to pay off the $515 million in debt, and a “New Co.” that would exist solely to educate students.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As the clock ticks down toward possible payless paydays in the Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is trying turn up the pressure on state lawmakers.

DFT leaders are also trying to tamp down on a faction within the union that is pushing for more radical action to force Lansing’s hand.

The district needs state money in the short term to avoid running out of cash early next month. It also needs a longer-term rescue package to help shed crippling debt and reorganize as a new district.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The water crisis in Flint and the financial crisis in Detroit Public Schools appear to be taking a toll on Michigan’s credit outlook.

Standard and Poor’s, one of the three major credit ratings agencies, revised Michigan’s outlook for general obligation debt down a notch, from “positive” to “stable” this week.

lockers lining a school hallway
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A $50 million emergency spending bill to keep Detroit Public Schools open through the rest of this school year has cleared the state House.

The district’s emergency manager says without an immediate infusion of cash, DPS probably won’t be able to pay teachers and staff after April 8th.

The bill now goes to the state Senate, where Republican Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he intends  to hold a vote on this $50 million bill, or a larger DPS bailout, sometime next week.

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