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detroit public schools

kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says plans to overhaul Detroit’s education system should get moving in Lansing soon.

It’s not clear exactly what will be in those bills.

But in the past, Snyder has floated a bankruptcy-style plan for the debt-ridden Detroit Public Schools.

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is in even bigger financial trouble than previously thought, according to a state report filed this week.

In its June 2015 quarterly report on school district deficits, the Michigan Department of Education pegged DPS’s annual budget deficit at $166,359,414.

Jake Neher / MPRN

There’s a deep divide at the state Capitol over plans to rescue Detroit Public Schools.

The governor hopes to sell lawmakers on a plan to restructure DPS and have the state pay off its massive debt. He says state-appointed emergency managers drove up that debt.

Many Michigan students finished up their first week of school today. While younger kids might see just another year of quizzes and tests, their parents are taking note of the effects of budget cuts and other administrative changes. We visited local schools to ask parents how things have changed this year.

Marc Grassi watches his daughter, Franca, eat breakfast before her first day of school at St. Clare of Montefalco in Grosse Point Park, Michigan.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

On her first day of school, Franca Grassi woke up, ate a bowl of oatmeal with diced nectarines and maple syrup. She brushed her teeth with the help of a Mickey Mouse iPhone app. Then her parents, Nikki Rittenour and Marc Grassi, drove her to school in their station wagon.

moare / MorgueFile

Michigan expects there will be a shortage of teachers in certain subjects this school year. Early childhood, special education, foreign language and a variety of occupational teachers are facing a “critical” shortage.

Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.

44 percent of Michigan 3rd graders tested proficient in English and Language Arts. The scores for African-American, latino and low-income students were even worse.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Each week  Jennifer White speaks to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the latest in state politics.

This week, they discussed the federal civil rights complaint filed by the Detroit Public Schools elected board against Governor Rick Snyder.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ elected board has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Governor Rick Snyder.

The Title VI complaint — the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which deals with discrimination claims against institutions that receive federal funds — asks the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a number of allegations against the district and its state-appointed officials.

Life Remodeled

Some 9,000 volunteers are remodeling Osborn High School in Detroit this week.

Last year, the same group – called Life Remodeled – focused on Cody High School, on the other side of the city. The non-profit even raised $1 million to build Cody a new football field.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An unspecified “technical glitch” in the Detroit Public Schools’ payroll system has left teachers in the lurch this week.

Some teachers were shorted hundreds of dollars in the last pay period, while others weren’t paid at all, according to Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn.

kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers have approved loaning more money to schools facing serious financial problems.

Long term, low interest emergency loans help school districts restructure and pay down their debt.

But the state’s Emergency Loan Board already offered more than $48 million dollars in loans to school districts, almost all the money state law allowed. Now the cap has been lifted to $70 million.

Brianna Foster-Nuñez and Alyssa Nuñez have been to three different schools since 2013.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

 

This fall, it’s looking like Alyssa Nuñez and and Brianna Foster-Nuñez might switch to a new school.

Again.

It’s a pretty common experience in Detroit, where students switch schools 2.5 times more frequently than kids in the rest of the state.

MichigansChildren / YouTube

Michigan’s top education official says the state should help Detroit Public Schools pay down its massive debt.

The governor and state lawmakers are discussing ways to turn around the district - which is almost $500 million in debt. The district spends $53 million dollars a year on debt service.

  

Outgoing state Superintendent Mike Flanagan says paying off the district’s debt would free up tens of thousands of dollars for every classroom in Detroit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push to recall the head of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

Steve Conn has been on the job since January.  But the DFT president has ruffled a lot of feathers with his confrontational style. 

http://www.facebook.com/streetcreddetroit

Reality TV can be more than the Kardashians or the Real Housewives-of-Wherever.

It can be used to shed light, to build bridges, to increase understanding.

kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At least one prominent Republican at the state Capitol believes Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is likely to be dissolved.

State lawmakers are debating ways to help turn around public schools in Detroit. Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to sell them on a plan to turn around the district. It includes shifting money from districts across the state to help DPS pay off debt.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

Of the 600 likely voters polled, 82% agreed the state has an obligation to provide a quality education to all kids in Detroit, but answers varied when it came down to how to fund that education. 

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is revamping some of its offerings in the hopes it will make its schools more competitive.

Todd Losie is the principal at FLICS, a K-through-8 school that sits right next to Renaissance High School.

Both schools will go for International Baccalaureate certification.

Whatever your politics, here’s something hard to deny: Detroit Public Schools are a terrible failure, and have been for years.

Four emergency managers have failed to stop a staggering hemorrhage of students, or make the schools any kind of academic success. Nor have they managed to get the district’s ballooning deficit under control. The numbers tell the tale.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Principals and teachers at Detroit Public Schools' eight lowest-performing schools will be required to reapply for their jobs, under a new restructuring plan designed to boost academics, public image, and student enrichment.

Principals will reapply and be chosen first, and then will have an opportunity to evaluate their staffs and select a team, according to school spokesman Steve Wasko. 

Rebecca Kruth

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to more than 2,000 Detroit students as part of the city's first College Signing Day.

Students from more than 40 Detroit high schools came to hear Obama speak about the importance of committing to higher education.

"In fact, we should all be as excited about college signing day as we are about the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Playoffs," she said.

Governor Rick Snyder announced his plan to fix Detroit’s schools yesterday, and to me, the most annoying thing was this: Demonstrators on both sides of the spectrum were rushing to Lansing to protest against his plan before they knew what was in it.

What is Governor Snyder's plan for Detroit schools?

Apr 23, 2015
44 percent of Michigan 3rd graders tested proficient in English and Language Arts. The scores for African-American, latino and low-income students were even worse.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We’re starting to hear early reports about Governor Snyder’s plan for restructuring public education in Detroit. The school landscape there is very fractured right now, with a combination of traditional public schools, charters, and the Education Achievement Authority.

Kids in Detroit learn music from U of M students

Apr 23, 2015
Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

After school on Fridays, the halls of Woodbridge Community Center are filled with music. There's the sound of guitars from one room, a cello and violin duet of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from another, and the plunking of piano keys. 

All that music is thanks to University of Michigan student Sam Saunders, and his club Seventh Mile Music. 

debt
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

 A new report says restructuring Detroit Public Schools' debt could cost other school districts millions of dollars.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan says other districts would lose about $50 per student if DPS is allowed to use property taxes to pay off its debt. Schools normally use these taxes to fund operations. But if the taxes were used to pay off debt, the state would have to make up the difference.

44 percent of Michigan 3rd graders tested proficient in English and Language Arts. The scores for African-American, latino and low-income students were even worse.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Fifty-six Michigan school districts and charter schools started this school year in deficit. The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, made up of community leaders in Detroit, is asking the state to assume $350 million in school debt. State lawmakers are being asked for $725,000 dollars to cover unpaid debts of the former Buena Vista school district, the one they dissolved two years ago.

Two days ago a group calling itself the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren presented its recommendations for how to fix the Detroit Public Schools.

They had some good ideas, such as creating a citywide data system so parents can better compare schools to find the best options for their children. 

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children
Rebecca Kruth

A coalition of business and community leaders yesterday released their recommendations for improving Detroit’s struggling school district.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren said control over Detroit Public Schools needs to go back in the hands the school board and out from under emergency management.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is $53 million behind in pension payments with no end in sight for the financial free-fall.

According to Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, the district is predicting a deficit of $166 million.

"The biggest driver to the DPS deficit is legacy costs and past debt," Livengood says.

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