Detroit Public Schools

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Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools logo.svg
Detroit, Michigan
United States
District information
Type Public
Established 1842[1]
Superintendent Lamont Satchel
Budget US$ 725,557,870 (2013–14)[2]
Students and staff
Students 47,959 (2014–15)
Teachers 3,235 (2012-13)
Staff 15,535 (2007)[3]
Other information
Emergency Manager Darnell Earley[4]
Number of Schools 134 (2011–12)[2]
Teachers Unions Detroit Federation of Teachers[5]

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is a school district that covers all of the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States and high school students in the insular city of Highland Park. The district has its headquarters in the Fisher Building of the New Center area of Detroit.[6][7] The district is currently under a state of a financial emergency and is currently run by an emergency manager instead of the school board and superintendent. Besides DPS, the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) operates 15 of the district's schools totalling 6,556 students as of the 2014-15 school year.


Established in 1842,[1] Detroit Public Schools has grown in area with the city. Some of the schools in the district began as part of other school districts, such as various Greenfield Township and Springwells Township districts before these districts were made part of the Detroit Public Schools as the areas they covered were annexed to the city of Detroit.[citation needed]

In 1917, the board membership was changed from ward-based to at-large elections.[citation needed]

In 1999, the Michigan Legislature removed the locally elected board of education amid allegations of mismanagement and replaced it with a reform board appointed by the mayor and governor. The elected board of education returned following a city referendum in 2005. The first election of the new eleven member board of education, with four chosen at-large and seven by district, occurred on November 8, 2005.[citation needed] At the time the district's enrollment was slowly increasing and it had a $100 million surplus .[8]

Before the district occupied the Fisher Building, its headquarters were in the Macabees Building in Midtown Detroit.[9] The district paid the owner of the Fisher Building $24.1 million in 2002 so the district could occupy five floors in the building. This was more than the owner of the Fisher Building paid to buy the building one year earlier.[10] The district's emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, said in 2009 that he was investigating how the school board agreed to the lease in the Fisher Building.[11] Reginald Turner, who served on Detroit School Board from 2000 to 2003, said that he was told that it would be less expensive to occupy the Fisher Building than it would to remodel the Maccabees Building.[12]

In November 2004 an election in Detroit was held since the state takeover was sunsetting. On a 66% margin the voters agreed to return to having an elected school board. The board was selected in November 2005 and began its term in January 2006. The final full year that the board was in full control was the 2007-2008 fiscal year. By that time DPS had a $200 million deficit. The district's deficit was $369.5 million by the end of the 2007-2008 fiscal year, and its long-term debt was $1.5 billion.[8]

In January 2009 Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm installed Robert Bobb as the emergency manager of DPS. She used Public Act 72 to appoint an emergency manager.[8] In May 2011, Roy Roberts was appointed DPS's emergency manager by Governor Rick Snyder.[13] By the time Roberts was appointed the DPS deficit was $686.5 million.[8] In September 2011, a new statewide district, Education Achievement Authority, was to take over some of Detroit's failing schools as selected by the emergency manager[14] with up to 16 expected.[15] The deficit was $763.7 million by the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and at that time its long-term debt was $2.1 billion.[8] On January 13, 2015, Darnell Earley was appointed as the new emergency manager for the school district by Snyder.[4]

Highland Park Community High School of Highland Park Schools closed in 2015, and at that time DPS assumed responsibility for high school education of students in Highland Park, Michigan.[16]

From 1999 to 2016 the State of Michigan controlled DPS for all except three years, when the elected DPS board was in control.[17]

By January 2016 various DPS teachers made complaints about health and safety issues at DPS schools.[18] DPS teachers were striking in various "sickouts" that resulted in schools closing.[19] At that time DPS staff members were uploading images of poor conditions at DPS schools to Twitter, using the tag @teachDetroit.[20]

Student achievement[edit]

In 2007, Education Week published study that claimed that Detroit Public School's graduation rate was 24.9%.[21] Groups including state and local officials said that the study failed to take into account high school students who leave the district for charter schools, other school districts or who move out of the area. Detroit Public Schools claim that in 2005-2006 the graduation rate was 68 percent graduation rate and expected it to hold constant in 2006-2007 [22][23][24] On February 14, 2009, the Detroit Free Press reported that United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had concern over the quality of education Detroit children are receiving. A spokesman later stated that Duncan had no specific plans for Detroit. The students in Detroit's public schools perennially score at the bottom compared to other large urban school systems.[25]

Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School, and Detroit School of Arts rank highly both statewide and nationally. However, at many schools some students still do not meet adequate yearly academic progress requirements.[26] Students that fail to meet those requirements struggle in both language and mathematics.

A team of DPS students from Western International High School and Murray-Wright High School took second place out of 552 teams from 25 countries in a robotics competition in Atlanta, Georgia. DPS students, most notably Bates Academy students, did well at the 42nd annual Academic Olympics in Eatonton, Georgia, winning many honors. The Duffield elementary and middle school chess teams both finished first in the 2007 statewide competition, and performed well in the national competition. At a previous Annual National Academic Games Olympics, DPS students won 25 individual and 20 team first place awards.[27][28]

Detroit Charter Schools[edit]

Detroit has public charter school system with about 54,000 Detroit students (2009–10).[29] When charter school and Detroit Public Schools enrollments are combined, the total number of children in public schools in Detroit has increased. If growth trends continue, Detroit's charter schools enrollment will outpace the Detroit Public Schools by 2015.[29] Officials at the Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Federation of Teachers oppose the expansion of charter schools. A previous plan for 15 new charter high schools was scuttled.[citation needed]

The Thompson Educational Foundation financed a new University Preparatory Academy High School, and provides yearly scholarships on condition of meeting student performance goals. Follow up studies of the University Prep Academy class of 2007 shows that at least 90% went on to college, 83% of those who attended a four-year university re-enrolled for a second year, and 57% of those who attended a two-year college re-enrolled for a second year, beating national re-enrollment averages.[30] However, these scores are below high performing DHS schools with selective enrollment such as Bates Academy, Burton International and Renaissance High School.[citation needed]

There have been significant calls for the Detroit Public Schools to cooperate more with charters, including renting unused schools to charters. In May 2008, the DPS board renewed contracts with six charter schools for two years. DPS leases some closed school buildings to charter school operators.[31]


DPS is headquartered in the Fisher Building in New Center


In March 2007, the DPS board removed Superintendent William Coleman, replaced him with Dr. Connie Calloway as its new superintendent on a $280,000 yearly salary, and made Lamont Satchel as Interim Superintendent. Coleman was still paid for the remainder of his contract.[32]

Dr. Connie Calloway was removed after 18 months after accusations by the school board that she was behaving unprofessionally and exercising poor judgment. She is fighting that decision.[33]

Emergency financial manager[edit]

Currently all matters are under the control of Emergency Manager Darnell Earley was appointed as the new emergency manager for the school district by Snyder, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in January 2013.[4]

From 2009–2011, DPS finances were managed by Robert Bobb who was appointed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm[34] and from 2011 to January 2015, Roy Roberts who was appointed by Governor Snyder.

Board of education[edit]

Board Member District
Tawanna Simpson District 1
Elena Herrada District 2
Annie Carter District 3
Judy Summers District 4
Herman Davis (President) District 5
Wanda Redmond District 6
Juvette Hawkins-Williams District 7
Reverend D. Murray At large
Ida Short (Vice President) At large
Jonathan C. Kinloch (appointed by Governor Snyder's Emergency Manager, not elected) At large
LaMar Lemmons At large



2012 Changes[edit]

Schools Closing[edit]

On February 9, 2012, Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts announced the following schools closings[37]

1. Burton Elementary School: Students will be reassigned to the new $21.8-million Mackenzie PK-8 School building on the old Mackenzie High School site.

2. Detroit City High School: Students will be reassigned to schools with existing Second Chance programs.

3. Detroit Day School for the Deaf: Students will be reassigned to schools with hearing-impaired programs.

4. O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School: Students will be reassigned to the new $22.3-million Munger PK-8 School. The new facility includes a two-story student arcade that will function as a dining court, student center and school square.

5. Kettering High School & Kettering West Wing: Students at Kettering High School will be reassigned to Denby, Pershing, Southeastern or King high schools. Students enrolled at Kettering West Wing will be reassigned to schools with existing special education programs.

6. Mae C. Jemison Academy: Students will be reassigned to Gardner Elementary School or Henderson Academy.

7. Maybury Elementary School: Students will be reassigned to either Earhart Elementary-Middle School or Neinas Elementary School.

8. Parker Elementary-Middle School: Students will be reassigned to the new $21.8-million Mackenzie PreK-8 School, which will include a large open media center. The building design will focus on student safety and will be environmentally responsible.

9. Robeson Early Learning Center: Kindergarten classrooms at Robeson will be reassigned to the main Paul Robeson, Malcolm X Academy building. All pre-K programs will relocate to Palmer Park Preparatory Academy, which has a surplus Pre-K capacity.

10. Southwestern High School: Students will be reassigned to either Western International or Northwestern high schools.

Schools being replaced with new buildings[edit]

1. Mumford High School: The new $50.3-million Mumford High School is the largest school construction project in the district’s bond program. The 239,900-square- foot high school will accommodate about 1,500 students and also will have a community health clinic.[38]

2. Burton International: Is replaced by the Burton Theater which reopened as Cass City Cinema the end of 2011. The building also includes a montessori nursery, artist studios and law offices. [39]

Schools Consolidating[40][edit]

1. Crockett High School and Finney High School will be consolidated into a $46.5-million, 221,000- square-foot high school being constructed at the site of Finney High School. It will be named East English Village Preparatory Academy and will accommodate up to 1,200 students. Students in grades 10–12 from Finney and Crockett high schools will go there. The new school starting with 9th Grade will require an entrance/admissions exam and if accepted must maintain a GPA of 2.5.

2. Farwell Elementary-Middle School and Mason Elementary School will consolidated and renamed Mason Elementary-Middle School. The current Mason Elementary School building has closed, and all students currently enrolled at Mason will be offered enrollment at the new site. New students residing in the Mason Elementary School boundary will be assigned to either the new Mason Elementary-Middle School or Nolan Elementary-Middle School.

3. Langston Hughes Academy and Ludington Magnet Middle School will consolidate and be named Ludington Middle School but will use the Langston Hughes Academy building.


On December 8, 2008, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan determined the district's inability to manage its finances and declared a financial emergency.[34] Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Robert Bobb as the emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools in 2009 to manage the school districts finances. His contract dictates a one-year tenure. The school district began selling 27 previously closed school buildings. On March 3, 2009, Bobb initially estimated that DPS's current year deficit would be no less than $150M, requested early payments from the state to meet payroll, and indicated that more additional outside auditors will be required to properly assess the district's financial situation.

In March 2009, Robert Bobb declared that the school district had 150 million dollar budget deficit, only including debts that he was aware of. Twenty million dollars of that money is owed to the district's pension system.[41] The DPS school board complained in that same year that the then deficit of $65 million for 2007–2008 school year was caused by accounting irregularities, including fringe benefits and paying teachers off of the books. Much of the deficit was discovered by outside auditors invited by former district Superintendent Connie Calloway in 2008.[42]

The 2008–2009 edition of the Michigan Department of Education's ranking of Michigan Public School financial data showed the mean Detroit Public School teacher's salary stood at $71,031, more than 14% higher than the state average of $62,237.[43] During the same period, the Michigan cohort graduation rate was 80.1%, while Detroit Public Schools' cohort graduation rate was 67.39%, 16% lower than the state average.[44]

Employee relations[edit]

On March 22, 2006, some teachers staged a "blackboard flu."[45]

In the 2006 contract negotiations, the district sought $88 million in reductions, but the Detroit Federation of Teachers (representing 7,000 teachers and 2,500 other employees) and other unions fought further pay cuts, and the district threatened to lay off 2,000 union employees in response. On August 22, thousands of DPS teachers protested further pay cuts, and demanded a pay increase. A district spokesman said that pay cuts for teachers was a necessary requirement for balancing the school's budget. The teachers agreed to go on strike, closing school for three days and shortening the first day of school.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers requested a 15.6% pay increase for the highest income teachers, pointing out that they're making less than their counterparts in the suburbs. The median salary for the Detroit Public Schools is $41,007, while the median teacher pay for Michigan overall is $57,958. Teachers concessions were still below the state mandated deficit reduction plan, and a prolonged strike was averted primarily because both sides recognized the threat of more children leaving the DPS for charter schools. In an appeal to teachers who are considering a wildcat strike, Detroit Superintendent William F. Coleman III argued that a strike would encourage more children to leave the district for suburban schools of choice and charter schools, exacerbating problems and forcing more layoffs and program cuts. Some blame the state takeover for the strike.[46] The teachers went on strike.[47] County Circuit Court Judge Susan Borman ruled on September 8, 2006 that the teachers must return to work the following week.

On November 9, 2006, DPS laid off 907 lunch aides and 713 teachers. Aides are union members of the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, and typically make near minimum wages. A recent minimum wage hike was a factor in the layoffs.[48]

DPS pays 14.55% of each employee's salary to the Office of Retirement Services to cover the costs of participation in the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System.[49]

In 1999 Detroit teachers staged a wildcat strike, using the slogan "Books, Supplies, Lower Class Size!"


In the 1970s DPS had 270,000 students.[50]

As of January 2013 about 49,900 students attend Detroit Public Schools. As of that year about 9,000 of them, over 18%, have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of the federal government. At the same time, the state average is 12%. In 2012 about 17% had IEPs.[51]

As of 2014 DPS had 6,092 students classified as bilingual, speaking over 30 languages. They included 4,972 Spanish speakers, 522 Bengali speakers, 258 Arabic speakers, 34 Romanian speakers, 29 Hmong speakers, and 277 students speaking other languages.[52]

In 2014 the 2016 projected enrollment for DPS was 40,000.[50]

School dress code[edit]

Detroit Public Schools created a district-wide uniform dress code for students effective on May 11, 2006 for all students in grades Kindergarten through 12.[53] This includes mandatory identification badges. Parents may opt their children out of the dress code for medical, religious, or financial reasons.[54] Several schools, including Bates Academy and Malcolm X Academy, had uniform dress codes before the start of the district-wide policy.[55]

Digital programs[edit]

On February 4, 2010, the Detroit Public Schools announced that it wants to digitize all its teaching and learning as part of the comprehensive plan to accelerate student achievement, within five years.[56] Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the district's chief academic and accountability auditor, said the district is investing in high-tech tools to equip all 6th- to 12th-graders with computers and digitize all curriculum, textbooks and lessons plans district-wide. The $15 million product is part of a $40 million contract with Boston's Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which marks the largest single deal for the book publisher.

The first step will be interactive Web-based portal called Learning Village that would be fully functioning by fall 2010. The Learning Village program will give DPS the ability to digitize its textbooks, curriculum and lesson plans. Teachers will have access to students' assessment results and prospective lesson plans to more quickly diagnosis struggling students. Parents can log in to the system to track their students' progress, print additional worksheets and view cumulative test results for a teacher's entire class. The purpose of the Learning Village tool is to serve as a unified portal to connect students, teachers, parents and principals, and deliver real-time learning. DPS will also use $14.2 million in federal stimulus and Title I dollars for netbooks for all 36,000 students and 4,000 teachers in grades 6–12 for access to technology to support hands-on learning. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is setting up a Detroit-based office with at least 13 employees for technical support, training and outreach. Detroit is the company's largest client.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "This week in Michigan history: Detroit Public Schools is founded in 1842". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "District Data". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  3. ^ RILEY, ROCHELLE. "Woes, expectations mount for DPS chief". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "Jerry Ambrose named Flint's fourth emergency manager as Darnell Earley heads to Detroit". The Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). January 13, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Detroit Federation of Teachers Homepage". Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  6. ^ "School Location Map[dead link]." Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  7. ^ "4.-Kettering-High-School-Kettering-West-Wing.pdf." (Archive) Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 1, 2012. "Fisher Building – 14th Floor 3011 W. Grand Boulevard Detroit, MI 48202-2710"
  8. ^ a b c d e Guyette, Curt. "After six years and four state-appointed managers, Detroit Public Schools’ debt has grown even deeper" (Archive). Metro Times. February 25, 2015. Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  9. ^ "Contact Us." Detroit Public Schools. May 10, 2000. Retrieved on November 7, 2009.
  10. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (September 24, 2009). "Audit: Detroit Public Schools overpaid millions for real estate after middle-man markups". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  11. ^ Duggan, Daniel (November 4, 2009). "Freman Hendrix asked about Detroit Public Schools' $13 million lease in 2001". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved November 7, 2009.  (Archive)
  12. ^ Duggan, Daniel (October 28, 2009). "Construction profits for Detroit Public Schools' projects excessive, Bobb says". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved November 7, 2009.  (Archive)
  13. ^ Chambers, Jennifer (November 28, 2011). "Official revives DPS fight". The Detroit News. Retrieved December 5, 2011. [dead link]
  14. ^ Chambers, Jennifer (November 18, 2011). "Forum touts district for failing schools". The Detroit News. Retrieved December 5, 2011. [dead link]
  15. ^ Higgins, Lori (December 4, 2011). "State district for failing schools may expand past DPS earlier than planned". ;'Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 
  16. ^ Lewis, Sharon D. "Highland Park’s high school to close as enrollment dips" (Archive). The Detroit News. May 28, 2015. Retrieved on June 23, 2015. "Weatherspoon said high school students from Highland Park can enroll in nearby Detroit Public Schools, another neighboring district, a charter school or the state-run Education Achievement Authority. DPS will be the students’ home district."
  17. ^ Gross, Allie. "Detroit News editorial board writes idiotic column about Detroit Public Schools sick outs" (Archive). Metro Times. January 13, 2016. Retrieved on January 22, 2016. Information is in this image (Arhive)
  18. ^ Ferretti, Christine. "Duggan unveils plan to inspect all DPS schools" (Archive). The Detroit News. January 13, 2016. Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  19. ^ "Detroit Public School Teachers Turn To 'Sickouts' In Protest" (Archive). Michigan Public Radio at National Public Radio. January 14, 2016. Updated on January 15, 2016 Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  20. ^ DeVito, Lee. "[1]" (Archive). Metro Times. January 14, 2016. Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Shultz, Marissa and Greg Wilkerson (June 13, 2007).Graduation rate[dead link].Detroit News.Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  23. ^ Mrozowski, Jennifer (June 5, 2008)Detroit graduation rate is the worst[dead link].Detroit News. Retrieved on August 8, 2010.
  24. ^ Study on District’s graduation rate is wrong | Detroit Public Schools
  25. ^ See Detroit Free Press, Dec. 19, 2013.'s%20Report%20Card
  26. ^ [2] Archived September 25, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "The Michigan Citizen". [dead link]
  28. ^ DPS News Online
  29. ^ a b Hing, Julianne. "45 Detroit Schools to Close: Where Have All The Students Gone?" ColorLines. Wednesday March 17, 2010.
  30. ^ Jennifer Mrozowski (February 23, 2009). "Charter's grads staying in college". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  31. ^ Bukowski, Diane. "Eliminate debt to state, not teachers: DPS announces $45 million deficit". Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2008-05-31. [dead link]
  32. ^ "FBI Investigates DPS over funds". The Detroit News (The Detroit News). Retrieved 2009-03-14. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Detroit School Board sticks to decision to fire superintendent". The Detroit News (The Detroit News). Retrieved 2009-03-14. [dead link]
  34. ^ a b Detroit Free Press, Jan 27, 2009, Chastity Pratt Dawsey, "Granholm Names Appointee", p. A3
  35. ^ "Members of the Detroit Board of Education". Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  36. ^ "Office of College & Career Readiness." Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 29, 2015. "Albert Kahn Building 3rd Floor 7430 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202"
  37. ^ [ / "Emergency Financial Manager announces school closings"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF).  line feed character in |url= at position 53 (help)
  38. ^ "See which DPS schools are closing". [dead link]
  39. ^ Cass City Cinema - About Us
  40. ^ "Emergency Financial Manager announces school closings". [dead link]
  41. ^ "New Detroit Public School chief:"Budget will be balanced."". WWJ Newsradio 950 (WWJ Radio). March 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-14. [dead link]
  42. ^ Gray, Steven. "Can Robert Bobb Fix Detroit's Public Schools?" TIME. Monday January 25, 2010. 1. Retrieved on March 28, 2010.
  43. ^ Michigan Department of Education. 2008–2009 Bulletin 1014, Michigan Public School districts Ranked by Selected Financial Data. Published May 2010.
  44. ^ Retrieved April 15, 2011.[dead link]
  45. ^ Diane Bukowski. "Blackboard flu". The Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2010-01-18. [dead link]
  46. ^ Diane Bukowski. "Takeover ills lead to DPS strike". The Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2010-01-18. [dead link]
  47. ^ Diane Bukowski. "TEACHERS STRIKE!". The Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2010-01-18. [dead link]
  48. ^ Diane Bukowski. "DPS cuts 907 lunch aides; 713 teachers". The Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2010-01-18. [dead link]
  49. ^ Detroit Public Schools Division of Finance Office of Budget (June 26, 2004). "Detroit Public Schools Proposed 2005 Budget Review" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  50. ^ a b AlHajal, Khalil. "Closed Detroit high school campus to become 27-acre farm." MLive. March 13, 2014. Retrieved on November 15, 2015.
  51. ^ Dawsey, Chastity Pratt. "As Detroit Public Schools rolls fall, proportion of special-needs students on rise." Detroit Free Press. December 24, 2012. Retrieved on February 12, 2013.
  52. ^ "Detroit Public Schools expands bilingual offerings to students and families to serve diverse population" (Archive). Detroit Public Schools. November 19, 2014. Retrieved on July 11, 2015.
  53. ^ "Policy 11.1 Student Dress Code[dead link]." Detroit Public Schools. Accessed October 22, 2008.
  54. ^ "Student Dress Code Policy". Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved October 22, 2008. 
  55. ^ Christine MacDonald; Mark Hicks (April 11, 2006). "No more nose rings in school?". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2010-01-18. [dead link]
  56. ^ Marisa Schultz (February 4, 2010). "DPS to make textbooks all-digital in 5 years". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 

External links[edit]