DETROIT – In the fall, the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is going to have a monumental task ahead of them. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it needs to get nearly 50,000 students back in the classroom safely.
Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said his number one homework assignment over the summer is to get kids back into schools. Vitti said right now, about 75% students are considered absent -- which means they missed more than 18 days of school and he said the pandemic is to blame.
That’s why it’s vital to get students back in the classroom safely, and he’s going to use over $1 billion of Federal Funding to make that happen.
“We are expecting $1.2 billion and that had needs to be spent over the next two years,” Vitti said. “Whatever is not spent will process budget transfers and those will go into our fund balance.”
That’s the huge announcement Vitti made Thursday morning during a news conference. Vitti said the school district will use $1.2 billion of Federal Funding to make sure that students can and will return back to school safely for the 2021-22 year.
“It will allow us to fully fund testing on a weekly basis with COVID PPP,” Vitti said. “It’s going to allow us to put a nurse in every one of our buildings.”
Dr. Vitti said they’re also offering money to teachers and personnel to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
“We are providing all of our employee $500 incentive to take the vaccine,” Vitti said.
But that’s not it, there are major plans to spend the money to help out Detroit Public Schools and Community District.
“I would say $600-800 million of that $1.2 billion will go into facilities. So HVAC systems, roof, fencing, masonry work. The other dollars are going to be used for summer school, mental health, nursing, small group instruction, one-on-one instruction and expanding learning activities, after school and over the break -- Spring Break, Midwinter Break, going into the next year as well,” Vitti said. “The COVID dollars will plug the gap so we can keep everyone employed, keep wages and salaries the same, but then we’ll also use the COVID dollars for bonuses, as well as teachers and all staff. So we’ll negotiate that.”
Dr. Vitti also said this year about 7,000 students are using the district’s In-Learning Centers. The district has about 49,000 students total.
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