DPSCD School Board voted to file a lawsuit against the SRO
During a closed session at the public board meeting on March 14, 2017 the DPSCD Board voted to pursue litigation against the State School Reform/Redesign Office. Below is the official statement issued by Board President Iris Taylor.
“The DPSCD School Board has one job. And that’s to ensure that every child in every Detroit neighborhood has access to a quality school. Just days after we took office and were beginning to get to work, the State School Reform Office informed us that 16 low performing DPSCD schools could soon be shut down. Thousands of our children could be forced to travel as far as Holly and East China just to get an education.
Together, with our parents, our students, our Mayor, our legislators and our neighbors, we stood up and spoke out…demanding that our school board have an opportunity to improve our schools not just shut them down.
We made our case and now we believe mass closures are off the table. (Please see FAQ)
The Michigan Department of Education has taken over the process and is offering school districts like DPSCD 18 months to improve schools that were once slated for closure. Duly elected school boards and district leadership will remain in full control of their schools, the curriculum and their districts. Interim Superintendent Alycia Merriweather and the DPSCD school board are open to building what we hope will be a constructive partnership with the Department of Education and our local partner, Wayne RESA.
We appreciate Governor Snyder for hearing our concerns and taking action. However, while we appreciate this opportunity, we continue to believe that SSRO’s actions were unlawful.
Among other things, we believe the legislation that created DPSCD in 2016 gave us a clean slate, which means under the law, our district is entitled to operate schools for at least three years without even the threat of closure. This issue and others must be resolved because our parents and children deserve stability. We cannot be expected to grow and improve if the threat of closure looms over us at the start of every school year. Detroiters deserve certainty.
For that reason, we will be filing a lawsuit to clarify our relationship with the SSRO going forward. While we navigate these legal questions, one thing remains certain and that’s our commitment to improving the quality of every school in our district. Superintendent Merriweather is finalizing an individualized improvement plan for each of the 16 schools and building critical partnerships with universities and other local stakeholders. She will present her improvement plans in the coming weeks.
We want to make it clear that filing suit is not a rejection of MDE’s offer to enter into a partnership agreement. It is simply the Board and the district ensuring that all options are available to us as we work through these challenges. In that spirit, we will continue to review the offer presented to us by MDE.
In the meantime, we stand united in our decision to file suit against the State Reform Office.
In the midst of our challenges, we are ever mindful that our ultimate goal is to equip and prepare our children for bright futures. Together, we will continue to build the district our children and our city deserve.”