$300,000 to be moved from existing departmental spending plans
Detroit Public Schools today announced that it is reprioritizing its use of budgeted funds to continue addressing the work orders currently in its system, as well as the property maintenance and safety violations cited in reports from the City of Detroit’s ongoing inspections of the District’s 97 school buildings. DPS is redirecting $300,000 specifically to address immediate, critical needs pinpointed in the reports.
The $300,000 is being transferred to Operations from the existing spending plans of other District departments.
“The District remains committed to making the necessary repairs to its buildings in order to provide our students and staff with a clean, safe environment in which to learn and work,” said Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. “Unfortunately, given the dire financial condition of the District, the only way that we can continue to address the current work orders in our system, as well as take the corrective actions required in the inspection reports is to redirect funds from others areas within our current budget because there are no additional funds available. While these trade-offs are never easy, they are extremely necessary to ensure that we comply with the property maintenance and safety regulations of the City of Detroit and State of Michigan.”
The redirected funds have already been put into action to fix the steam heat line under Spain Elementary-Middle School that has prevented student use of the playground. This repair, which was a part of the broader facility maintenance plan for Spain, was completed on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. The asphalt over the repaired steam line will be replaced when weather permits in the spring.
To-date, the City has inspected 46 DPS schools, and corrective action plans are in place to address the issues cited. Weekly progress updates will be available on a new page on the District’s website detroitk12.org/buildingimprovements, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.
“Although it would cost upwards of $50 million to address all of the immediate maintenance and capital issues on the buildings with the most need in the District, we will continue to work to identify funds that can be redirected to implement the long and short-term plans the District already has in place to address these issues. However, our limited resources severely impede our ability to accomplish all of the capital improvements needed in our schools without a legislative solution.”
The District is working in earnest to complete and pay for these repairs and updates by the end of March because it is projected to run out of cash in April, unless the Michigan legislature moves swiftly to pass the school reform legislation currently being discussed in Senate committee hearings.
Given the serious financial challenges facing the District, it has partnered with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation to launch a Capital Improvements Fund where any individual, group, nonprofit, and business and/or corporation can make a donation that will be used specifically to address the District’s facility maintenance and repair issues. For more information, please call (313) 873-8976.
“We are encouraged by the initial outpouring of interest in helping Detroit Public Schools,” said Earley. “It is going to take the efforts from a broad range of partnerships to identify the resources necessary to immediately address the myriad of building issues, from the everyday repair to the significant capital expenditures that are required throughout the District’s 97 school buildings.”