School Board questions emergency manager's academic plans for Detroit Public Schools

DPS board, emergency manager ordered to work together on district's academic planning

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter


The Detroit Public School Board says the district has had plans in place for months and it is prepared to execute them on the start of school next week.

Since Michigan's emergency manager law will be on November's ballot, the DPS leaders remain in control of the district's academic policies while the emergency manager controls the money. They held a Monday night emergency meeting to question the district's school readiness.

However, a judge has made it clear that Emergency Manager Roy Roberts' plans will remain in place for the beginning of the school year. The judge told both the School Board and Roberts that they had to work together. Monday night's meeting showed anything but collaboration.

Regardless, the School Board is questioning whether the district is prepared to open. Despite clear answers from Superintendent for Academics Karen Ridgeway, who says yes, they are in position, the board does not seem to believe her.

The board also wants Roberts to attend their Sept. 13 meeting and say they will pursue legal action to force him to attend if he won't come willingly. A check with attorneys familiar with the board's bylaws said the board has no power to compel Roberts to come to their meetings.

Union president says lawsuit prepared against DPS

The Detroit Federation of Teachers union President Keith Johnson says teachers are being moved around and are not receiving adequate time to prepare. He is readying a lawsuit against the district because Roberts dumped more than 400 teachers who received failing marks for effectiveness.

Johnson is predicting the first day of school will be chaos.

"The only school district in this state that saw fit to seize an opportunity to eliminate teachers at will is the Detroit Public School District," he said.

Johnson believes a nightmare will occur when school opens on Sept. 4.

President of the Detroit Council PTA, Verna Brock, said she is not concerned about logistics but she wonders what happens once the kids get to the classrooms.

"Are they going to be properly educated? Probably not," said Brock.

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