Detroit schools superintendent eyes sweeping changes to boost enrollment

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti plans to overall district

DETROIT – The superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District is laying out a sweeping overhaul to the district, aimed at maximizing the use of the best facilities and boosting enrollment.

The city of Detroit has two high schools that require entrance exams, including Cass Tech. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wants to expand that to include Martin Luther King Jr High School.

Vitti also wants to expand the curriculum in sports marketing and medicine.

Pulaski Elementary School on Detroit’s east side needs about $10 million in repairs. But with no money in the budget, Vitti is eyeing an adult education east center a mile away.

“It’s a win-win in that that building is not fully used right now because it’s only used for adult programming and children kindergarten through eight-grade level,” Vitti said. “Five-hundred will go into a quality facility.”

Vitti has a lengthy list of moves he wants to make. He also wants to turn Frederick Douglass High School into an all-boys high school instead of a sixth-grade through 12th-grade all-boys school.

Vitti said he’s getting the parental support he needs, but he also needs money -- post receivership. He said there isn’t any because the new district isn’t allowed to float bonds to raise cash.

“At one level, we should have the authority to bond so we can address this issue locally,” Vitti said. “However, there are policy adjustments that need to be made in Lansing.”

Vitti needs to get creative, so he’s gone to Detroit’s executive class, such as DTE Energy Vice Chairman David Meador, to get some help.

“There are 18 districts across the state of Michigan that do not have any money for their buildings, so if we want to have an excellent K-12 system, we have to have excellent facilities to go along with that,” Vitti said.

He said he also wants to do more with the Golightly Career and Technical Center -- making it into more of a vocational-style school with modern skills training. He wants to do more with Communication and Media Arts High School, as well.

Click here to get the meeting schedule and the superintendent’s podcast laying out the plan.

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