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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Detroit Public Schools are back in the hands of an elected board

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM

click image Cass Technical High School - PHOTO BY ALBERT DUCE (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
  • Photo by Albert Duce (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Cass Technical High School
Seven members of Detroit’s now fully-empowered school board were sworn in Wednesday night in a ceremony marking a fresh start for the district.

The elected Detroit Public Schools Community District board members approved temporary bylaws, set a meeting schedule, and elected officers. They also approved several contracts.

The significance of the occasion was not lost on the hundreds of people gathered in the Cass Technical High School auditorium, who dutifully applauded when Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather noted it was the first time in seven years that the district was in local control.

Then Meriweather, who the Free Press reports is hoping to become DPSCD’s permanent SI, began outlining the massive challenges the district continues to face despite a state cash infusion that saved it from near-collapse last year.

Those challenges include a more than 50 percent rate of chronic absenteeism among students, and more than 250 teacher vacancies that are right now being filled, for the most part, by substitutes.

Still, there was one clear glimmer of hope in the information presented by school officials at the meeting. The district, according Superintendent of Finance Marios Demetriou, is on track for a more than $48 million budget surplus when it closes out the fiscal year in late June. However, that is mostly due to one-time revenues.

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