Darnell Earley named new emergency manager as community discusses future of city’s public education

LANSING, Mich. – Detroit Public Schools remains under a financial emergency as community leaders start discussions about a long-term reinvention to build a stable, financially secure system that creates a brighter future for all city students, Gov. Rick Snyder said.

With the district struggling with a nearly $170 million deficit, Snyder said it is necessary to continue with an emergency manager while community discussions move forward. He today announced the appointment of Darnell Earley, following the provisions of Public Act 436 of 2012. Earley replaces Emergency Manager Jack Martin effective today.

The transition in Detroit Public Schools comes as the Coalition for Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, convened by the Skillman Foundation, starts a community discussion about the future of all the city’s schools. That work will continue and Snyder plans to meet with the coalition members later in the week.

“A thriving public school system is an essential part of Detroit’s comeback,” Snyder said. “Financial challenges unquestionably hinder efforts to improve academics. I appreciate the hard work of Jack Martin, who oversaw the district during an extremely challenging period. Darnell Earley has a track record of success and can guide the district as we work collectively and collaboratively to turnaround the fiscal crisis and ensure a quality education for the city’s school children that they need and deserve.”

Snyder made the announcement at Detroit Public School District’s Burton International Academy.

Earley has served as the city of Flint’s emergency manager since September 2013. His experience includes serving as Saginaw city manager, Flint city administrator and Ingham County’s budget director and deputy controller. Earley is a municipal finance expert known for working closely with community organizations.

Earley will be replaced in Flint by Jerry Ambrose, who since December 2011 has served as financial adviser to Flint’s emergency manager. Earley’s term in Flint was expected to expire in April, and the city is still expected to transition back to local control at that time.

“Important community discussions are underway about creating a brighter future for education in Detroit,” Earley said. “It’s vital for the district to be on firmer financial footing so this work can move forward. Education must be a cornerstone of a strong, revitalized Detroit.”

Snyder praised Martin for his leadership of the state’s largest school district during challenging times. Martin worked to stabilize the district’s enrollment after 20 years of significant losses. He also restored art, music and athletic programs at elementary and middle school levels and redesigned career tech programs to address current needs in the skilled trade marketplace.

Martin also refocused the district’s real estate strategy, selling and leasing a number of unused properties to generate several million dollars for the city schools.

“I took this job because it meant I would be helping children get the education they need to be productive, successful members of our community,” Martin said. “Every action I’ve taken over the last 18 months has been about the students and fixing the system so every child in Detroit can receive the quality education they deserve.”

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