Plan focuses equally on academics and operations
Detroit, March 3, 2015 — Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley today unveiled a 10-Point Management Plan designed to guide the district toward financial stability and educational competitiveness, and ensure that it can not only achieve long-term sustainability, but also be poised to exit receivership by the end of his 18-month tenure.
The announcement of the 10-Point Plan was made in conjunction with the delivery of Earley’s 45-Day Financial and Operating Plan to the State of Michigan, which is required in accordance with Section 11(1) of Public Act 436 of 2012. Earley was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Jan. 13, 2015.
“Having focused my career on improving the quality of life in urban communities, I understand how critical it is that students receive a quality education,” said Earley. “I would not have accepted this job if I did not think that it was possible to implement meaningful reforms that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of public education in Detroit.”
Earley acknowledged that there are many serious issues that continue to face the district and will make this work of transforming the district a challenge, not the least of which are the significant loss of revenue over the past several years due to enrollment declines, property tax delinquencies, and availability of other educational options for parents; the high cost of serving a disproportionate number of students with special needs; high personnel, transportation and debt service costs.
“Addressing these issues will not be easy,” said Earley. “However, I strongly believe that they are manageable. We will do everything we can to right our own course, but a long-term solution will also require cooperation with the State of Michigan, City of Detroit, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren and other key stakeholders – including our unions and the Board of Education – to be successful.”
As a result of significant efforts by prior DPS Emergency Managers, and the hard work and sacrifices of DPS employees, Earley believes that there is a solid foundation from which to build a restructuring plan.
Restructuring efforts will be guided over the next 17 months by the new, results-oriented 10-Point Management Plan, which was developed with input from the DPS leadership team, and is divided evenly between academics and operations because they are intricately intertwined.
The following are the 10 critical areas of focus (five academic and five operational) covered by the plan:
“Because this restructuring work must be thoughtful and strategic, we know that it will not occur overnight,” said Earley. “Therefore, FY 2016 will be a transitional year, in which targeted cost reductions are made in areas that do not impact the quality of education delivery.”
In addition to a review of all contracts, policies and procedures, key areas being focused on during the restructuring process include: central office administration, special education, curriculum and instruction, grants, and staffing models, as well as non-core programs.
While some aspects of this important work are more long-term, there are a number of immediate next steps that we will be acting upon, including:
- Convening a summit of education service providers, which will consider the Coalition’s recommendations (due March 31, 2015), with the goal of achieving the following:
- A moratorium on creating new schools before autumn 2015;
- Establish a working group to identify shared facility opportunities and potential closure of substandard facilities across DPS;
- Establish a special education task force to address location of classes, enrollment rules, long-term strategy, and funding formulas;
- Exploring statutory changes with stakeholders and legislators that will level the playing field for all schools in the delivery of educational services;
- Evaluating existing schools and programs in order to determine potential closures, consolidations, or relocations prior to start of 2015-16 school year in September or the future. This will be done in conjunction with our existing, comprehensive strategic planning process;
- Consideration of options regarding the potential for restructuring District obligations.
“Ultimately, all decisions that are made will be guided by what will get us to our end goal, which is improving the quality of education provided to the children of Detroit by Detroit Public Schools,” said Earley. “A strong public school system is essential to the future of Detroit, Southeast Michigan, as well as the State of Michigan.”
To see the 45-day plan and 10-point management plan, go to the Emergency Manager’s web page.