Tired of being locked out of running the very school district they were elected to run, the Detroit Public Board of Education issued six resolutions last month calling for an investigation “into the State of Michigan’s Operation of Schools and Pre-Schools Receiving Federal and Municipal Tax Dollars within [the] City of Detroit under the RICCO Statutes & Other Violations of Federal Law.”
Believing that the State of Michigan, under the administration of Governor Rick Snyder, is attempting “the systematic dismantling of the Detroit Public School System” through “illegal and extralegal methods,” the DPS Board issued the following resolutions:
1. The State of Michigan did issue $12 million dollars to the Detroit Public School District (DPS), and those funds where loaned to DPS’ principal rival and competitor, the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA), to keep said competitor afloat and solvent.
The Board alleges that the EAA was not eligible for public funding, so the Snyder administration used DPS as a bait and switch for the very company being used to undermine Detroit Public Schools for the sake of private profit. As a token, the Board states DPS was, in turn, given a pittance in order to grease the wheels for playing ball, but the Board isn’t having it.
The DPS Board also claims the funding essentially being laundered through DPS toward EAA was never brought before it, which the Emergency Manager law of 2012 – PA 436 – requires. According to the Board, those funds were “neither approved by the State’s Emergency Loan Board, nor authorized by the EAA as the recipient Board.”
2. The Emergency Manager refused to post, report or even account for the salaries, resources, and allocations that were owned by DPS and were diverted to form the EAA.
3. In a blatant disregard for the accepted conventions of accounting, the Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts, did enter into a contract with himself as Emergency Manager and President of the EAA when transferring DPS property to the EAA.
Clearly a blatant conflict of interest arises, there, as far as the Board is concerned.
4. Contractors that were simultaneously Board Members of the EAA, in a disregard for Conflict of interest statutes, did vote for contracts to themselves.
Again, another egregious conflict of self-explanatory interest arises there for the Board members, since neutered in their elected positions to oversee the running of Detroit’s public schools.
5. Contractors and subcontractors who had spouses who were competing for the same Federal Head Start and Early Childhood Grants as Detroit Public Schools, when said contractors neglected to submit the DPS Head Start Early Childhood Grant proposal to the Federal Government allowing those contracts to be steered to certain vendors.
In number five, the Board alleges that head start contracts were intentionally left to be filed late, or not at all, thereby defaulting to competitors filling the roles and positions that would have otherwise gone to public school employees. As a result, several facilities were unavailable or closed altogether virtually overnight.
6. In blatant disregard to The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) , the EAA school system illegally obtained access to confidential and sensitive DPS student health information which they used to recruit students into the EAA.
As a result of the six charges declared in the Board’s resolutions above, it is the firm belief by the Detroit Public Schools Board of Education that an federal investigation is highly called for, in order “to rectify this grave conspiracy of injustice to tax payers, voters and students in the City of Detroit.”
To the Board, the process of taking over predominantly black schools, stripping them of their locally elected leadership and implementing private, for-profit companies in their place is largely a racist act. To counter that allegation, the Board also anticipates a few token, largely white schools, will soon be dragged through the same process in order to muddy the legal waters around the case. Currently, there is a class action lawsuit against the State of Michigan due to that very belief that racism plays a role in this democratic fiasco.
The Board also states that while Gov. Snyder has appointed a new Emergency Manager for DPS, it “has not continued to provide consultants, experts and legal counsel to advise us during this academic calendar year…”
The Board feels very much that it, and the people of Detroit, have been cornered into a position of “taxation without representation,” and that certainly seems to be the case. After all, that is the entire nature of the Emergency Manager law; it’s dictatorial at its root.
The resolutions concludes:
THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, we recommend that these bonds be assumed by the State of Michigan and not the Taxpayers of the City of Detroit.
Clearly a great deal is broken and needs to be worked out in Detroit’s public schools. The struggle is still ongoing. You can read more about the fight for Detroit to regain control of its own schools, here and here.
You can read a full copy of the Board’s resolutions, courtesy of Go Left America, below:
If so inclined, you can also sign a petition in support of the Detroit Public School Board’s resolutions, below:
Featured Image: via Flickr