Detroit Public Schools EM Darnell Earley resigns from position

Earley, who is former Flint EM, declines to testify before U.S. Congress

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Manager and former Flint city emergency manager Darnell Earley will resign from his position at DPS this month.

Earley will resign on Feb. 29, according to Gov. Rick Snyder's office.

“Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances. I want to thank him for his professionalism and his service to the people of Michigan,” Snyder said in a news release. "He restructured a heavily bureaucratic central office, set in place operating and cost-containment measures, and has taken steps to stabilize enrollment. These factors should all set the course for a sustainable, new Detroit Community Schools, as I have proposed."

In a statement, Earley said he completed a "comprehensive restructuring" of the school district while emergency manager.

“When I was appointed to this position, Gov. Snyder and I agreed that our goal was for me to be the last emergency manager appointed to DPS,” Earley said in a statement. "I have completed the comprehensive restructuring, necessary to downsizing the central office, and the development of a network structure that empowers the educational leadership of our schools to direct more resources toward classroom instruction. This and other initiatives implemented over the past year were completed ahead of my 18-month schedule as provided in the (Public Act 436 of 2012)."

View here: Darnell Earley's letter to Gov. Snyder

Meanwhile, Earley has refused to testify before U.S. Congress about the water crisis in Flint. Last week, a U.S. Congressional Oversight Committee invited Earley and several other Michigan officials to testify on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Earley served as the emergency manager in Flint from September 2013 to January 2015. He was appointed to the DPS emergency manager position in January 2015.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers union has filed a lawsuit against DPS and Earley which asks a judge to remove Earley from his state-appointed position.

"We are charging that the DPS and Darnell Earley have let the fiscal situation and the environmental conditions of the schools to deteriorate so severely that Detroit is not providing a minimally sufficient education," said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union Administrator Ann Mitchell during a news conference last week.

Teachers within the DPS district have been staging absences, or "sick-outs," this year as they protest what many have called "deplorable" conditions at the buildings. Teachers have been demanding better teaching and learning environments, and better pay.

The city of Detroit has conducted inspections at more than 20 of the DPS buildings. Violations found include rodent and insect infestations, holes in ceilings, water leaks, broken glass and water-damaged floors. You can view those inspections reports here.

Statement from Detroit Federation of Teachers interim president Ivy Bailey:

“Emergency Manager Darnell Earley has abdicated his role and responsibilities as overseer of the Detroit Public Schools. As emergency manager, Earley has shown a willful and deliberate indifference to our schools’ increasingly unsafe and unhealthy conditions, and a blatant disrespect for the teachers, school employees, parents and students of our city.

“His departure, which the Detroit Federation of Teachers, parents and the community have called for, is a step in the right direction. For nearly seven years, DPS has been controlled by four state-appointed emergency managers. They have created both a fiscal and a moral crisis, running up a $515 million debt, running down the physical conditions of our schools, and forcing educators to bear the brunt of the problems with fewer resources and more benefit cuts.

“Earley’s resignation presents a perfect opportunity for state officials in Lansing to pay off the debt their appointed managers have created and return the Detroit Public Schools to local control. Appointing another emergency manager won’t fix Detroit’s education crisis. Now is the time for DPS to have an elected school board that answers to the people of this great city.”

Senate Majority Leader Ananich: 'Earley needed to go'

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) issued the following statement Tuesday after Earley's resignation was announced:

"For the sake of the kids, Earley needed to go, but this move should in no way allow him to dodge his responsibility to fully comply with every investigation about his role in the Flint water crisis. The governor must demand that he testify before Congress tomorrow and be completely transparent in turning over every document related to what happened.

"The public also has a right to know all the details about his severance package, contract terms and any nondisclosure agreement. Make no mistake, this announcement today was not motivated by what is best for the children — it was about saving face for the politicians who are worried about what he might reveal under oath."