In a four-year period until 2012 the district lost 1,400 students. In 2012 it had $4.2 million fewer dollars in operating revenue than it did in 2011. In 2012 the district had 3,500 students. During that year the district opened up a school of choice program for grades K-8 so that anyone from Macomb County may apply to attend East Detroit schools.
On November 8, 2013, David Zauner, a teacher at East Detroit High School, dove into a pool to rescue a 14-year-old student who was drowning. The boy died in the hospital four days later. In June 2014 Zauner accused the school district and John Rizzo, the school's assistant principal and athletic director, of retaliating against him for cooperating with a police investigation about the incident; Zauner is suing the district and Rizzo.